Sweet Dreams

Chinese Lander Dies on Lunar Surface

byVictor Tangermann
12. 15. 20

Good night, Chang'e-5.

Get Some Rest

Good night, Chang’e-5.

China’s lunar lander has completed its mission of collecting the first Moon samples in almost half a century — meaning, reports, that it has effectively died.

Its ascent vehicle took off with roughly four pounds of lunar rocks on December 3 to rendezvous with the mission’s orbiter and fly back to Earth.

That means the lunar lander is finally able to get some hard-earned rest. It simply wasn’t designed to withstand the extremely low temperatures during the lunar night cycle when temperatures can drop down to -310 degrees Fahrenheit.


Freezing Cold

Chang’e-5’s predecessors Chang’e-3 and Chang’e-4 featured heater units that allowed them to withstand such temperatures. Chang’e-4’s rover Yutu-2 was able to spend several lunar night and day cycles on the far side of the Moon.

China’s latest lander doesn’t have that tech, and may have taken a hit even before succumbing to the freezing temperatures. Reports suggest the ascent vehicle sitting on top of the lander may have done some damage when blasting off, as reports.

While the samples themselves are still traveling back to Earth, the ascent vehicle launched itself back at the lunar surface so it wouldn’t become orbital debris.

READ MORE: China’s Chang’e 5 moon lander is no more after successfully snagging lunar rocks []


More on the mission: China Crashed Spacecraft Into the Moon so It Wouldn’t Become Space Junk

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