China’s Chang’e 5 is getting ready for its launch to an unexplored region of the moon, where it will collect the first lunar sample in nearly 40 years.
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Why exactly do we want these lunar samples? it’s all about the moon’s evolutionary history. The previous samples were taken from regions where the moon was believed to have stopped its volcanic activity some 3.5 billion years ago. But new theories believe that there could be some areas where lava could have formed more recently, like one to two billion years ago.
And if the sample that Chang’e 5 collects proves that the moon was still geologically active at that time, it could change everything we know about the moon’s history.
And if it doesn’t succeed, even more complicated backup missions are already in the works with Chang’e 6 and 7 planned for launch in 2023 or 2024.
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China set to retrieve first Moon rocks in 40 years
"Later this month, a Chinese spacecraft will travel to the Moon to scoop up lunar rocks for the first time in more than 40 years."
"Chang’e 5 is a Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) lunar sample return mission tentatively scheduled to launch 24 November 2020 from Wenchang Space Launch Center."
China is quietly preparing for November launch of the Chang’e-5 lunar sample return mission
"China has initiated preparations to launch Chang’e-5, a mission seeking to collect and return the first lunar samples since the 1970s."
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