China has apparently seized the initiative from the United States as far as the moon mission is concerned. The first man on the moon was Neil Armstrong, an American. It was in 1969, more than half a century ago. Since then, the Americans put the moon on the shelf and concentrated on other aspects of space travel. They developed the International Space Station and drafted plans to explore Mars with the help of robots. Recently, they transferred their attention back to the Moon through the Artemis program. This has come center stage with plans for humans to revisit the moon with a woman astronaut.

The plan includes exploring the lunar surface and sending back samples of rocks. However, China has a clear advantage.

USA Today says Chang'e-5 mission is the "most ambitious lunar mission of China." The mission wants to bring back material from the surface of the moon. Its success would mean a major advance for the space program of China. A study of the moon rocks and debris from the alien soil would help scientists understand more about the moon, its age and resources. The spacecraft has four modules. The Chinese National Space Administration has not divulged much information. However, NASA reveals the mission of China is to drill to a certain depth on the moon's surface and retrieve a specified amount of rocks and other debris for return to Earth.

In the 1960s and 1970s, American and Russian missions had done something similar. Today, it is possible that China could occupy space on the moon ahead of America or Russia.

China can pull this off

An astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics feels China can pull this off. USA Today adds it has proved its caliber with the Chang'e-3, Chang'e-4 and Chang'e-5 missions.

The country has made enormous progress and is now poised to collect samples from the moon and return them to Earth. In December 2018, China launched its Chang'e-4 mission to explore the far side of the moon. This was a totally new area for scientists. Joan Johnson-Freese, a space expert at the U.S.

Naval War College, said, “China is showing itself capable of developing and successfully carrying out sustained high-tech programs, important for regional influence and potentially global partnerships."

Spacecraft Chang'e-5 of China is unique

The spacecraft Chang'e-5 comprises four distinctly different modules. These are a lander, ascender, service module and the return capsule. The first is the lander meant to do the digging. It will transfer the material to the ascender. This will then leave the surface of the moon, dock with the service capsule and finally return to earth via the return capsule. China had first put a man in space in 2003 to become the third nation to achieve this milestone after the U.S.

and Russia. USA Today goes on to add that under existing U.S. law, China could not collaborate on the International Space Station. Therefore, China is working on its own space station.

It is a 23-day mission for China

According to Sky News, China has launched Chang'e-5, a robotic spacecraft to the moon. Such a mission would depend on effective implementation of artificial intelligence, Renewable Energy and robotics. It will bring back samples of lunar rock to earth for detailed study to identify the nature of resources. It will also be the first mission by any country since the 1970s to attempt such an exercise.

The journey to the moon will take around eight days and the purpose of the mission is to gain confidence to take on challenges that are more complex.

The duration of stay of the probe on the lunar surface would be about two days, and the entire mission would take around 23 days. A representative for the Chang'e-5 mission said. “There is also an engineering purpose. Through the task of sampling and returning, we could have a more comprehensive grasp of relevant technologies of lunar exploration."