Following its December 1st lunar landing, China’s Chang’e-5 robotic probe has collected a cargo of Moon samples, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced Wednesday.

Drilling into lunar surface.
Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

The lander-ascender combination of Chang’e-5 finished the tasks of Moon sample drilling and packaging at 4:53 am Wednesday utilizing two methods of sampling, including using drills and a mechanical arm to gather specimens.

Sampling of Moon’s terrain.
Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

About 2 kilograms of samples are expected to be collected and sealed in a container in what scientists have described as a long “sausage-like package.”

Chang’e 5 is expected to work for about two days in a region to the north of Mons Rümker, a mountain overlooking a vast lunar mare called Oceanus Procellarum, or the Ocean of Storms, on the western edge of the Moon’s near side.

Samples onboard ascender.
Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Positional adjustment

When the lander-ascender reached an altitude of 1.6 miles (2.5 kilometers) it conducted a rapid positional adjustment and continued approaching the lunar surface.

Headed for landing site and keeping clear of hazards.
Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

During the engine-assisted process, cameras on the lander-ascender took pictures of the landing site and transmitted them to computers to identify possible hazards on the surface such as large rocks so the craft could maneuver to avoid them.

The lander-ascender suspended its descent when it was about 328 feet (100 meters) from the Moon and hovered for a short time to carry out accurate detection of obstacles before continuing to descend at a slower, steady speed.

Ascender departs the Moon with lunar collectibles.
Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Next phase

After the collection and packing operations are completed, a 3,000-newton-thrust engine on the ascender will lift the hardware carrying the specimens to rendezvous and dock with the reentry module. It will transfer the lunar samples to the module.

Bringing the samples back to Earth.
Credit: New China TV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

At the proper time, the returner will then separate from the orbiter and carry the collectibles back to Earth, landing under parachute in north China’s Inner Mongolia.































To relive the Chang’e-5 mission to date, view this collection of videos at:

Also, go to: Simulation facilities applied to prepare for Chang’e-5 mission on Moon

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