Take a little rest
Good night, Chang’e-5.
China’s lunar lander has completed its mission of collecting the first lunar samples in nearly half a century – that is, Space.com reports that it effectively died.
His ascent vehicle launched on December 3rd with about four pounds of moonstones to mate with the mission’s orbiter and fly back to Earth.
That said, the moon lander can finally take a hard-earned break. It just wasn’t designed to withstand the extremely low temperatures during the lunar night cycle, when temperatures can drop to -310 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chang’e-5’s predecessors, Chang’e-3 and Chang’e-4, had heaters that enabled them to withstand such temperatures. Chang’e-4’s rover, Yutu-2, was able to spend several lunar day and day cycles on the other side of the moon.
China’s newest lander doesn’t have this technology and may have scored a hit before succumbing to the freezing temperatures. According to reports, the ascent vehicle sitting on the lander may have caused damage when it was detonated Space.com Reports.
While the samples themselves are still returning to Earth, the ascent vehicle will start back on the lunar surface so that it doesn’t turn into debris in orbit.
CONTINUE READING: China’s Chang’e 5 moon lander is no more after successfully capturing moon rocks [Space.com]
More about the mission: China crashed spaceship into the moon so it wouldn’t turn into space debris