Future Chinese lunar probes to return soil samples, install research base
#11
at

[Image: Screenshot-2019-01-11-at-4.02.49-PM-630x378.png]
The Yutu rover cruising on the surface of the moon's dark side, leaving two tracks behind it. Photo: Handout


China’s Chang’e-4 sends more pictures of moon’s dark side


Devices from Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and Russia also contributed to landing and observation

By Asia Times staff January 11, 2019 4:33 PM (UTC+8)

China’s Chang’e-4 lunar probe has sent ultra-high definition and panoramic photos of the moon’s dark side, after its historic January 3 soft-landing on the side that is always oriented away from Earth.

China’s National Space Administration (CNSA) has made public a batch of selected photos, inducing a 360-degree panorama taken by a camera installed atop the lander.

[Image: 1123975505_15471695554631n.jpg]

These images were sent back via the relay satellite Queqiao, which was operating around the second Lagrangian point of the earth-moon system, about 455,000 kilometers from earth, where it can see both celestial bodies.

Chinese astronomers have made a preliminary analysis of the terrain and landform surrounding the location of the probe and its Yutu rover, now near the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin.

Chinese media revealed that the Yutu took a “nap” after solar radiation raised the temperature on the lunar surface to more than 100 degrees Celsius (212 Fahrenheit) before it rebooted itself on Thursday when the dark side’s surface cooled after sunset.

[Image: 800px-Change4_landing_site.png]
The landing site is a smooth plain within the crater Von Kármán on the moon’s dark side. The landing coordinates are 45.47084 South, 177.60563 East. Photo: Handout

The Chinese probe also carries a Germany-made neutron and radiation detector and a Swedish-developed neutral atom detector and both have started operations. A lunar radioisotope heater system contributed by Russia now provides the vital power supply to the probe during the moon’s long, frigid nights.

Without an atmosphere to retain heat, temperatures fluctuate in moon’s daylight-to-nighttime transition. The moon’s surface can be as hot as 127 degrees Celsius while it’s being illuminated by solar light and -173 degrees Celsius at nights.

The Queqiao satellite is also equipped with a Dutch-made low frequency radio detector.



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#12


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#13
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Chinese lunar lander’s cotton seeds spring to life on far side of the moon


Chang’e 4’s test load of six organisms beginning to flourish, experiment chiefs say
Cotton, rapeseed and potato chosen as foundation for human settlement

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 January, 2019, 1:09pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 January, 2019, 11:28pm
William Zheng

[Image: e41cf2c2-187d-11e9-8ff8-c80f5203e5c9_ima...k=15GCSZ_g]

Cotton seeds carried by China’s Chang’e 4 lunar lander have germinated on the far side of the moon, becoming the first plant shoots to grow there in what mission chiefs said was laying the foundation for a base on Earth’s only natural satellite.

A photo released on Tuesday by the China National Space Administration showed cotton shoots were growing well along with other germinated plants.

When Chang’e 4 landed on the far side of the moon on January 3, its cargo included an airtight container which carried bioscience test loads, including one called a “moon surface micro-ecological circle”.

Professor Liu Hanlong, head of the experiment, announced on Tuesday that the cotton seeds were the first to sprout, but the team did not give an exact time for that event.

Liu said that in addition to cotton, rapeseed and potato seeds had sprouted and were growing well as of Saturday.

Professor Xie Gengxin, the experiment’s chief designer, revealed that cotton, rapeseed, potato, arabidopsis – commonly know as rock cress – yeast and fruit flies were the six organisms chosen to go to the moon.

ve given consideration to future survival in space. Learning about these plants’ growth in a low-gravity environment would allow us to lay the foundation for our future establishment of space base,” Liu said.

He said the container was equipped with a small but powerful control system to keep the interior at around 25 degrees Celsius.

Liu said that the six components behaved as “producers, consumers and decomposers” in the micro-ecosystem that arrived on the moon. The plants produced oxygen and food by photosynthesis and sustained the fruit flies.

The canister was fully concealed from the extremes of temperature and strong radiation on the moon. Chinese scientists designed tubes for the canister to take natural Earth light to the moon for the plants to aid photosynthesis.

The yeast, acting as a decomposition agent, processed waste from the flies and the dead plants to create an additional food source for the insects.

Liu said potatoes could be a main source food for space explorers, cotton could be used for clothing, and rapeseed could be a source of oil.

Xie said the six species were chosen because they were small and could grow in a confined environment. They were also hardy enough to withstand some of the extreme conditions on the lunar surface.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: China germinates seeds on far side of the moon



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#14
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Onwards to Mars for China’s deep space explorers after Chang’e 4 moon mission success


Buoyed by a world first, Chinese scientists are looking to the red planet to push frontiers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 January, 2019, 8:20pm
UPDATED : Monday, 14 January, 2019, 11:26pm
Alice Shen

A successful moon landing has revived China’s interest in sending spacecraft to Mars, six years after its failed mission to the red planet.

Officials from the China National Space Administration said on Monday that China would send a probe to Mars around 2020 and a returnable craft to the moon by the end of this year.

Administration deputy director Wu Yanhua said the success of Chang’e 4’s mission to the far side of the moon marked a new stage for the country’s deep space exploration and outside interest was welcome in the programme

“We welcome international collaboration in developing devices aboard the spacecraft as well as domestic and foreign investment,” Wu said.

A satellite will be sent to orbit Mars around 2020 and a rover will make a soft landing there based on data collected by the satellite, according to space officials.

Other countries are also interested in the red planet, with Nasa in the United States, the European Space Agency, Roscosmos of Russia, and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency planning to explore Mars in the coming decade. Elon Musk’s SpaceX says it wants to create a city on the planet.

China’s first attempt to reach Mars failed in 2012, when Russia’s Phobos-Grunt spacecraft carrying China’s Yinghuo 1 probe failed to get beyond Earth’s orbit and eventually broke up over the Pacific Ocean.

The mission for Yinghuo, which means firefly in Mandarin, was to travel 54.6 million kilometres (33.9 million miles) to orbit Mars.

Nasa has also struggled to reach the red planet. Its Mars Polar Lander, launched in 1999, did not even touch down, losing contact with mission control as it approached the planet.

Meanwhile, China will continue to send spacecraft – staffed and unstaffed – to the moon.

“We are studying the programme of sending astronauts to the moon but it’s still in very early stages,” Wu said. “We haven’t got the approval yet.”

On January 3, China’s Chang’e 4 became the first vessel to make a soft landing on the far side of the moon, and Wu said a returnable spacecraft called Chang’e 5 would be sent to the lunar surface by the end of this year.

The official also detailed China’s plan for future lunar missions, including a comprehensive scientific exploration of the lunar south pole region, and the construction of a research station there.

Chang’e 5 will land on the near side of the moon – the hemisphere that permanently faces the Earth – and return with rock and soil samples.

“China trailed others when it came to space missions, until Chang’e 4, humankind’s first spacecraft to land on the far side of the moon,” Wu Weiren, chief scientist of the Chang’e 4 programme, said. “It proves that China can do something that no other country has achieved in space exploration.”

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Mars is next stop for China’s deepspace programme



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#15
Looks like China might make a territorial claim of the dark side of the moon. What will the chow ang mo do?..... Laughing

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#16
16-1-2019 2:55 AM
Huliwang said:
Looks like China might make a territorial claim of the dark side of the moon. What will the chow ang mo do?..... Laughing

Of course China can claim as much moon as she wants, make that 999-dashline marked with Chinese names, call it China Side of The Moon or CSOTM if she likes .... thumbs up thumbs up Rolling on the flor laughing Rolling on the flor laughing
Everything will be alright in the end, so if it is not alright it is not yet the end ....

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#17
16-1-2019 3:35 AM
ah pan said:
Of course China can claim as much moon as she wants, make that 999-dashline marked with Chinese names, call it China Side of The Moon or CSOTM if she likes .... thumbs up thumbs up Rolling on the flor laughing Rolling on the flor laughing

US can send their aircraft carriers there to do freedom of navigation...... Laughing

[+] 1 user Likes Huliwang's post
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#18
16-1-2019 3:50 AM
Huliwang said:
16-1-2019 3:35 AM
ah pan said:
Of course China can claim as much moon as she wants, make that 999-dashline marked with Chinese names, call it China Side of The Moon or CSOTM if she likes .... thumbs up thumbs up Rolling on the flor laughing Rolling on the flor laughing

US can send their aircraft carriers there to do freedom of navigation...... Laughing

won't work because no GPS, these boats will simply disappear in the China Triangle .... Rolling on the flor laughing Rolling on the flor laughing Rolling on the flor laughing Rolling on the flor laughing
Everything will be alright in the end, so if it is not alright it is not yet the end ....

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#19
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Hong Kong experts did key surveys for Chinese lunar probe


Hong Kong Polytechnic University team helped select the best landing site for Chang'e-4

By Asia Times staff January 15, 2019 6:55 PM (UTC+8)

China tapped into Hong Kong’s technical expertise in the critical selection of a landing site for its Chang’e-4 lunar mission to the dark side of the moon.

It has been revealed that a team of geologists and computer scientists at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) developed a lunar geomorphological and topographic mapping system to help select the January 3 soft landing site on the side of the moon that is never seen from Earth.

PolyU’s team of land surveying and geo-informatics experts amassed vast quantities of lunar remote sensing data and created high-resolution topographic models. They used them to identify two potential landing sites, each covering an area of about 1,500 square kilometers, for the consideration of the China National Space Administration.

The team from Hong Kong also gathered data on as many as 400,000 craters and over 20,000 boulders in the two candidate landing sites. They used the information to analyze the terrain surface and calculate the gradients and slopes in a bid to identify relatively flat sites for the safe landing of the Chang’e-4.

Their analysis looked at specific rocks in the region because boulders there can be as large as 35 meters in diameter, which could have blocked the track of the lunar rover Yutu.

In addition, the surface terrain of the landing region is extremely craggy, with elevation differences of up to 16 kilometers, which required a nearly perpendicular descent design for the probe.

The Chang’e-4 is now in the Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken basin.

The team’s study of sun illumination and telecommunications was particularly important to ensure ideal conditions to charge the solar panels to power sensors and communications antennae.

The team were responsible for topographic mapping and analysis of the landing site of the Chang’e-3 mission back in 2013.

PolyU has been participating in China’s lunar missions since Chang’e-3. Now its scientists are involved in selecting landing sites for the Chang’e-5 probe, slated to be launched by the end of the year and to include a sample-return vehicle.

A team of optics specialists are working on perfecting a camera system to be mounted on the new probe to take panoramic and high-resolution photos. Similar systems have already been used by Chang’e-3 and 4.

The university has now been commissioned to pool talent to support China’s future mission to explore Mars.



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#20
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Future Chinese lunar probes to return soil samples, install research base


Chang'e-5 will return lunar soil samples by end of 2019, humankind's first in more than 40 years

By Asia Times staff January 17, 2019 5:50 PM (UTC+8)

After a historic soft landing by Chang’e-4, a Chinese lunar probe, on the moon’s far side at the beginning of the year, the Earth’s natural satellite can expect to see another probe from China, Chang’e-5, by the end of 2019.

While Chang’e-4 and the Yutu, its lunar rover, will stay permanently on the lunar hemisphere that faces away from Earth after their mission, a sample-return vehicle on board Chang’e-5 will make a return trip to China in December.

It aims to return no less than 2 kilograms of lunar soil and rock samples – from 2 meters below the surface of the Mons Rümker volcanic formation in the northwestern region of the moon’s near side – back to Earth. This will be mankind’s first lunar-sample-return mission in over four decades after the former Soviet Union’s Luna 24 project in 1976, which collected and returned 170 grams of lunar samples.

The lander of Chang’e-5 will be equipped with a robotic arm, a rotary-percussive drill, and a scoop for sampling, as well as separation tubes to isolate individual samples, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The lander will place samples in an attached ascent vehicle and catapult it back into the lunar orbit for an automatic rendezvous and docking with an orbiter there, and the latter will then transfer the samples into a sample-return capsule for the journey to Earth.

[Image: 20131218084846875.jpg]
A rendering illustrating the rendezvous of an ascent vehicle and a sample-return capsule in the lunar orbit. Photo: Handout

Chang’e-5 will also carry a host of equipment and sensors, including high-powered ultra-high-resolution cameras, a mineral spectrometer, a soil-gas analytical instrument, a soil-composition analytical instrument, a sampling sectional thermo-detector, and a ground-penetrating radar.

The program aims to facilitate a crewed lunar landing by taikonauts in the 2030s, as part of the Chinese version of Project Apollo, and possibly build a Chinese outpost near the moon’s south pole.

Chang’e-6 will conduct a similar sample-return mission to its predecessor, but possibly from the far side.

Chang’e-7 and 8 will explore the moon more extensively and install an unmanned lunar research base.

A CNSA deputy director told Xinhua that some pieces of equipment from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration may also hitch a ride on Chang’e-5, as Beijing and Washington have always been in talks about cooperation in lunar and deep space exploration.

NASA is particularly interested in knowing how dust will move when Chinese probes land on the moon, the official was quoted as saying.

He revealed that China offered the landing schedule and location of Chang’e-4 to the US Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter for the satellite’s observation as it passed above the Chinese probe this week.



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