BEIJING (AP) – China on Tuesday placed a large rocket in preparation for launching a mission to bring material back from the moon for the first time in four decades.
The Long March-5 was taken by tractor from its hangar along the coast of the southern island province of Hainan to a nearby launch site at the space base in Wenchang.
The Chang’5 mission it will take is scheduled to launch early next week, placing a lander on the moon that will drill 2 meters (about 7 feet) below the surface and bring rocks and other debris to Earth. This will allow scientists to study newly acquired lunar materials in the fist since the American and Russian missions of the 1960s and 1970s.
The mission, named for the Chinese moon goddess, is one of China’s most ambitious people as its space program continues to build steam as it first put a man into space in 2003, only the third to do so after the US and Russia Became a nation.
Currently China has a mission on its way to Mars, as well as a rover on the far side of the moon providing the first complete measurement of radiation exposure from the lunar surface, important information for any country that provides astronauts on the moon Plans to send.
China has increasingly partnered with foreign countries in missions, although US law still forbids cooperation with NASA, preventing China from partnering with the International Space Station. This has prompted China to work on its own space station and launch its own programs that have put it into a steady competition between Asian countries with Japan and India achieving new achievements in space Is seeking
The space program has made careful progress in recent years with relatively few failures. Long March-5, nicknamed “Fat 5”, failed in its previous launch effort due to its sheer size, but China’s huge pool of technical and engineering talent has allowed it to overcome most obstacles.