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November 23-29, 2020 / Vol 39, No 47 / Hawai`i Island, USA

20 Nov 2020, 20:42 UTC
November 23-29, 2020 / Vol 39, No 47 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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Chang’e-5 Poised for 1st Lunar Sample Return of 21st Century, 1st for Zhongguo

Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket at Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, Hainan Island is ready to launch the ~8,200-kg Chang’e-5 lander and sample-return vehicle early morning November 24. The mission will aim to return to Siziwang Banner, Inner Mongolia December 16-17 at least 2 kg of regolith from a depth of 2 meters from 70-km diameter Mons Rümker region in Oceanus Procellarum (18.4° N, 57.4° W) where lunar sunrise will occur on Nov 27. CE-5 Deputy Chief Designer Li Chunlai states most of the samples will be stored at Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Astronomical Observatories of China in Beijing. The lander carries cameras, a spectrometer, soil composition analytical instruments, a sampling sectional thermo-detector and ground-penetrating radar. CE-5 mission is part of the final phase of CLEP robotic lunar exploration before a planned international research station and human Moon landings, possibly mid-to-late 2020s. CE-6 (sample return), CE-7 and CE-8 plans are underway with all 3 launching from Wenchang and potentially landing at Moon South Pole locations. CE-7 would include 23 science payloads, a lander, rover, relay satellite and hopper (‘mini-flying probe’ for permanently shadowed crater observations). CE-6 is ...

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