(ORDO NEWS) — China has reported the successful landing of the Chang’e-5 probe on the visible side of the moon in the Ocean of Storms. More than 600 images taken by the camera during landing were transmitted, which formed the basis of the landing video. Scientists have explained why the Chinese probe landed at this exact location.
The Chinese portal “Guancha” reports on the successful landing of “Chang’e-5” on the moon. The first data has already appeared. 653 images captured by the camera during landing make up the full lunar landing video. The images show that the landing zone is relatively flat, but there are still many impact craters on it, which introduced some danger to the landing process. The lunar surface is currently being analyzed by the descent vehicle.
“This video was made using 653 images taken after the landing camera was activated last night. We can see that the entire landing area is relatively flat, but there were still many large and small impact craters that posed a threat to our lunar landing process. Compared to the Chang’e-3 and Chang’e-4 landing cameras, the most important feature of the current landing camera is that it has twice the resolution, as well as an increased field of view. We are currently using data from this lander to analyze the landing zone, ”said Wen Weibin, deputy chief designer of the Chang’e-5 ground-based application system.
On December 1, at 22:57, the descent vehicle, together with the Chang’e-5 take-off module, began to reduce engine power about 15 kilometers from the lunar surface. Using a 7.5 kilonewton variable thrust engine, the probe’s speed was gradually reduced from 1.7 kilometers per second to zero. During this time, the probe quickly changed position and began to slowly approach the surface of the Moon. An automatic obstacle scan was then performed. After choosing the landing site, a descent with obstacle avoidance and a gentle vertical descent began, and Chang’e-5 landed in the area north of Rumker Peak in the Ocean of Storms on the visible side of the Moon.
The choice of the landing site, according to scientists, is due to the fact that this area may have geologically younger basalt compared to the areas in which the United States and the Soviet Union took samples during their lunar missions. If we can get new samples from here, it will help improve understanding of lunar volcanic activity and the history of the evolution of the satellite.
“The landing site chosen by China is thousands of kilometers from the Apollo landing site, which will bring new discoveries and new phenomena,” said Ouyang Ziyuan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and chief scientist of the Chinese lunar program.
Pan Zhihao, chief scientific communications officer for China’s space exploration, said the Ocean of Storms is rich in radioactive elements such as uranium, thorium and potassium and contains basalts ranging from 1.3 to 2 billion years old. Determining the isotopic age of these young basalts will help deepen understanding of lunar volcanic activity and evolutionary history. This study will help scientists fill an important gap in the study of lunar volcanic activity.
“According to scientists studying the moon, previous studies of lunar soil samples obtained by the United States and the Soviet Union showed that volcanic activity on the moon peaked 3.5 billion years ago, then subsided and stopped. However, after observing the lunar surface, it was revealed that some areas may contain volcanic lava, which was formed only 1-2 billion years ago. This is analogous to the age of the Chang’e-5 landing area. If the samples collected by Chang’e-5 can confirm that the Moon was still active during this period, it will completely change its history,” Pan Zhihao said.
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