Chang'e 5 returns home with lunar samples

By ZHAO LEI | | Updated: 2020-12-17 02:15
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An illustration shows the orbital transfer injection by Chang'e 5's orbiter-reentry capsule combination. [Photo provided to]

The combination made two orbital injection operations over the weekend after traveling in a near-circular lunar orbit for nearly six days. After the injection maneuvers, the pair entered a moon-Earth transfer trajectory on Sunday and began to fly back toward Earth.

According to the space administration, the Chang'e 5 mission was designated to fulfill several objectives. In terms of space engineering, it should demonstrate and verify technical plans and apparatus for autonomous lunar sampling and packing, moon-based launching as well as lunar orbital docking. In the scientific context, it was tasked with investigating the landing site's geological and topographic features, and enabling scientists to analyze lunar samples' structure and physical traits so they can deepen their research into moon's origin and evolution.

Project planners also wanted the mission to help to foster the country's knowledge, technology and talent pool for its future manned lunar missions and other deep-space expeditions.

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