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China Reveals Details of its Chang’e-5 Probe

The space agency is also working to carry out its first-ever Mars exploration mission around 2020

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Accurate Map of China. Pixabay

China’s Chang’e-5 probe, to be launched by 2019-end, will undergo multiple flight phases before the mission is completed, the media reported.

China National Space Administration (CNSA) plans to launch the mission with the goal of collecting samples from the near side of the Moon. They would be the first samples to be retrieved since 1976, Xinhua news agency reported.

The probe will enter the Earth-Moon transfer orbit. It will slow near the Moon to enter the lunar orbit and descend and land on a pre-selected area for ground research work, including collecting lunar samples, Peng Jing, deputy chief designer from the China Academy of Space Technology said.

After finishing its work on the Moon, the ascender will rise from the lunar surface for rendezvous and docking with the orbiter flying around the Moon.

Then the returner will fly back to Earth via the Earth-Moon transfer orbit, re-enter the atmosphere and land at the Siziwang Banner (County) of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Peng said.

The lunar samples taken back by the probe would be sealed in a container and sent to labs for further analysis and research, he added.

Chinese censors have erased online debate over US-China trade negotiations as the two countries appeared to back away from a trade war.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, wikimedia commons

The probe can be divided into 15 sub-systems, including structure, thermal control, antenna, sample collecting and sealing and propulsion. It is composed of an orbiter, a returner, a lander and an ascender, the report said.

Named after Chinese moon goddess “Chang’e”, China’s lunar exploration programme, which began in 2004, includes orbiting and landing on the moon and bringing samples back to Earth.

The programme has achieved five continuous successes, said CNSA, referring to Chang’e-1, Chang’e-2, Chang’e-3, a test craft for Chang’e-5 and the recent Chang’e-4, which realised the first-ever soft-landing on the far side of the Moon.

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The Chang’e-5 probe will be launched from Wenchang Space Launch Centre in Hainan Province.

The space agency is also working to carry out its first-ever Mars exploration mission around 2020.

These plans underscore China’s ambitions in space at a time when the US is curtailing NASA’s budget and increasingly handing over space exploration to commercial adventurers. (IANS)

Next Story

New Virus Can Spread Through Human Contact: China

China: Possible That New Virus Could Spread Between Humans

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Security guards stand in front of the closed Huanan wholesale seafood market, where health authorities say a man who died from a respiratory illness had purchased goods from, in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, China. VOA

The possibility that a new virus in central China could spread between humans cannot be ruled out, though the risk of transmission at the moment appears to be low, Chinese officials said Wednesday.

Forty-one people in the city of Wuhan have received a preliminary diagnosis of a novel coronavirus, a family of viruses that can cause both the common cold and more serious diseases. A 61-year-old man with severe underlying conditions died from the coronavirus on Saturday.

While preliminary investigations indicate that most of the patients had worked at or visited a particular seafood wholesale market, one woman may have contracted the virus from her husband, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a public notice.

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Commuters wear protection masks inside a subway train in Hong Kong, China. VOA

The commission said the husband, who fell ill first, worked at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. Meanwhile, the wife said she hasn’t had any exposure to the market.

It’s possible that the husband brought home food from the market that then infected his wife, Hong Kong health official Chuang Shuk-kwan said at a news briefing. But because the wife did not exhibit symptoms until days after her husband, it’s also possible that he infected her.

Chuang and other Hong Kong health officials spoke to reporters Wednesday following a trip to Wuhan, where mainland Chinese authorities briefed them on the outbreak.

The threat of human-to-human transmission remains low, Chuang said, as hundreds of people, including medical professionals, have been in close contact with infected individuals and have not been infected themselves.

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She echoed Wuhan authorities’ assertion that there remains no definitive evidence of human-to-human transmission.

The outbreak in Wuhan has raised the specter of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. SARS is a type of coronavirus that first struck southern China in late 2002. It then spread to more than two dozen countries, killing nearly 800 people. (VOA)