Less than a day after Chang’e’s 5 probes made a soft landing on the moon, the China National Space Administration released a short video showing the spacecraft sinking to the surface, as well as a high-resolution image of the moon.
The panoramic surface image that highlights the Oceanus Procellarum region where the spacecraft landed, especially the jaw. It shows the lander and one of his legs in the foreground, the lunar surface stretching to the horizon. This magnifiable 15,000 × 7,947 pixel image provides incredible detail about the small rocks near the lander and the recess formed by the landing foot on the surface of the Moon.
The accelerated video of the descent clearly shows that the Chang’e 5 landing gear is going through deceleration, redirecting itself, avoiding dangers, and then hovering before coming to the final landing.
Landing of Chang’e’s 5 landing and take-off units.
CNSA / CLEP
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– LaunchStuff (@LaunchStuff) December 2, 2020
Accommodation on the moon is not a new achievement for China. The country’s Chang’e 3 probe made a successful soft landing on the moon in 2013, and in 2019, the Chang’e 4 probe made the first soft landing on the other side of the moon – using any national space program. It is also worth noting that there are currently three active probes on the surface of the Moon, and all of them are Chinese.
But the real test of the Chinese space program will be on Thursday. Since its landing, the Chang’e 5 probe picked up the material and placed the lunar regolyte in a sample return capsule. On Thursday, this little spaceship will try to launch from the surface of the Moon, something that only the United States and the former Soviet Union have done before.
Once this little vehicle reaches the Moon’s orbit, it still has to dock with the Moon’s orbit, give away the samples, and then return safely to Earth through the planet’s atmosphere. All of this, if successful, will take place over the next few weeks. If all goes well, before the end of 2020, China will send the first new moonstone samples back to Earth in more than four decades.