The Chinese spacecraft Chang’e 5 has returned to the moon after a long hiatus. SpaceNews reports that hobby astronomers have noticed this. A special capsule from Chang’e 5, which collected about two kilograms of rock per month at the end of last year, was brought to Earth by the orbiter and landed in Mongolia. Soil samples have since been studied, but Chang’e 5’s scientific mission is not over. The probe was in a fixed orbit at the Lagrange point L.one It was parked by the earth and the sun before it started moving again.
Several maneuvers possible
As SpaceNews explains, the change in position had been discovered by a few amateur astronomers, so it should have happened by the end of August. Therefore, the probe is controlled by the Beijing Space Control Center, which has not yet commented on the probe’s status. Therefore, what the next plans will look like is uncertain and cannot be predicted from observation data. For example, Chang’e 5 could return to orbit around the moon, fly to a different Lagrange point, or even gain momentum on a flight to reach the asteroid (469219) Kamoʻoalewa. The Earth’s half-satellite is the target of a Chinese research mission scheduled for 2024, with the goal of taking samples there.
Chang’e 5 is one of the few Chinese missions that the Chinese space program has gone from success to success in the past few months. China was only the third country to use the probe to bring moonstones into the world where it can now be analyzed. Previously, the probe with the sample module had performed the first robot-controlled docking maneuver of a lunar orbiting spacecraft. The missions that Chang’e 5 can perform more than six months after completing this successful primary mission primarily depend on how far the fuel on board has reached.