The takeoff module of the Chinese lunar mission Change 5 crashed into the surface of the Earth’s satellite, but this was done on purpose.
The fact is that the work of the takeoff module had already been completed, and leaving the spacecraft in orbit was dangerous for the next lunar missions.
The Chinese mission Change 5 was very quickly able to obtain samples of lunar material and send them back to Earth. The mission, which included several specialized vehicles for various phases of the return of the lunar sample, has collected samples and has already prepared them for return to Earth, but at least one piece of high-tech equipment will remain on the Moon.
The takeoff module, which was part of the Change 5 lander, delivered samples of lunar material to orbit the Moon and docked with the orbiter. Once the transfer was complete, China ordered the craft to “commit suicide” by undocking from the orbiter and crashing back onto the lunar surface.
The China Space Agency Mission Control Team gave the command to the ascending spacecraft at 5:59 pm EST on Monday. The vehicle did what it was told and reportedly crashed into the moon about half an hour later at 6:30 pm.
The decision to smash the takeoff module against the moon is an interesting one. Due to the fact that the Change 5 mission consists of several vehicles, the capabilities of the take-off module were rather limited after it completed its sample transfer phase. Leaving this object in orbit around the moon is a bad idea because it just creates more “space debris” that could cause problems in the future.
Lunar debris, as we may call it, can eventually become a major problem as well, and while it may not seem like a big deal right now, humanity has a habit of spreading its debris all over the place, so it’s something to watch out for.
Earlier it was reported that the European space agency signed a contract for 86 million euros ($102 million) with a Swiss startup to deliver a large piece of orbital debris to Earth.
The agency said the deal with Clearspace SA will lead to the “first active debris removal mission” in 2025.
Just then, if the scientists’ plans come true, the custom-made spacecraft will hijack and shoot down a portion of the rocket that was once used to deliver the satellite into orbit.