China's experimental mooncraft snapped this image of the Earth and Moon together during its circumlunar voyage expected to last about 8 days. Courtesy: China Space

China’s experimental mooncraft snapped this image of the Earth and Moon together during its circumlunar voyage expected to last about 8 days.
Courtesy: China Space

China’s experimental mooncraft is on target to return back to Earth on November 1st.

Adjustments to the trajectory of the spacecraft have been made, with other nudges expected. Doing so will set up the craft to made a skip-reentry into Earth’s atmosphere, slowing it down from a speed of 11.2 kilometers per second – then parachuting into a pre-selected landing site.

Launched on October 24th (China time), the mission is designed to last some 8 days.

This craft is conducting a test run of procedures and technologies useful for China’s Chang’e 5 mission that will gather samples from the moon’s surface and return them to Earth.

China's current lunar mission is shown in this artist's concept. Credit: CCTV

China’s current lunar mission is shown in this artist’s concept.
Credit: CCTV

One key element being evaluated on the mission currently underway is reentry technology – assuring that the return capsule can take the heat during its high-speed maneuvering through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Trajectory of China's mooncraft, designed to test high-speed reentry techniques. Courtesy: China Space

Trajectory of China’s mooncraft, designed to test high-speed reentry techniques.
Courtesy: China Space

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