(ORDO NEWS) — The Chinese National Space Administration decided to destroy the lunar module that had completed its work in an unusual way.
The takeoff module of the Chinese lunar mission “Chang’e-5” was smashed on the surface of the Moon on December 7. The collision occurred at a point of 0 degrees longitude and 30 degrees south latitude. The specified coordinates assume the fall of the module at a point between the ancient craters Regiomontan and Walther in the southern highland region.
The module was a key component of Chang’e-5’s challenging 23-day mission to collect lunar samples and deliver them to Earth. Its task was to deliver two kilograms of rock from the lunar surface to a circumlunar orbit, where on December 6, it docked with the mission service module. After overloading the regolith on board the service module, the take-off unit separated from it and went away.
Despite the fact that the take-off module had a supply of fuel, the mission specialists decided not to extend its operation period and on the evening of December 7 sent teams on board the module for controlled information from orbit. At 23:30 UTC, the module collided with the lunar surface.
The impact occurred in an unlit part of the moon. NASA’s lunar reconnaissance orbiter, which previously took pictures of the Chang’e-5 lander a few hours after landing, has not yet recorded the crash site.
More stunning visuals from Chang'e-5. The ascent vehicle has separated from the orbiter. This followed yesterday's first ever automated rendezvous and docking in lunar orbit and transfer of the lunar samples to the reentry capsule. Source: https://t.co/eox8MILUnO pic.twitter.com/zywv1JpF4l
— Andrew Jones (@AJ_FI) December 6, 2020
According to the Chinese National Space Administration, the take-off module was destroyed so that it does not become space debris, littering near-earth space. Such debris could hinder future missions to explore the moon.
It is expected that on December 12, the service module will go to Earth and, being at a distance of about 5 thousand kilometers from the planet, will drop a capsule with soil, which will land on December 16 in one of the regions of Inner Mongolia.
Chang’e 5 is the fifth unmanned mission in the Chinese lunar program. Thanks to her, China became the third country in the world to extract a sample of lunar soil for subsequent delivery to Earth.
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