China plans mission to the moon to collect lunar material in November

China plans mission to the moon to collect lunar material in November

China are planning a mission to the moon

Friday, January 27, 2017

China is planning a mission to the moon to bring lunar material back to earth in November. 

The mission is known as Chang'e 5, according to Space.com, and if sucessful it will be the first to bring lunar material to earth since 1976.

It will also be China's first automated moon surface-sampling probe. 

The craft is set to take off from Wenchang Space Launch Centre in the Hainan Province at the end of November, Xinhua news agency reports.

Chang'e 5 is said to be made up of an orbiter, a lander, an ascender and an earth re-entry module.

When the spacecraft touches down, the lander will put lunar samples into a vessel, which is inside the ascender.

The orbiter and the re-entry module will circle the moon during this time, before the ascender takes off again, in order to dock with the pair and transfer samples to the returner. 

The orbiter and re-rentry module will then head back to earth. On the way they will detach, leaving just the returner to land on earth. 

China also plans to launch another probe in 2018 called Chang'e 4, which is designed to make the first-ever soft landing on the moon.