News that the Chang'e 5 makes unexpected course change when backtracking from deep space to going back to the moon. The probe was supposed to stay longer in deep space, but a sudden U-turn back to the moon caught experts unprepared for any possible explanations for the course change.
This probe that made a turnabout in deep space is just one of the probes of the same name that happens to get samples of lunar dust. Simply returning from the Apollo mission of the United States was a landmark success that astronauts had never repeated since the last American mission.
Chinese probe heads back to the moon
Along with the moon rocks, the Chinese probe was retrieved from its last lunar rendezvous and moved to the Lagrange Point. It is the point where gravity is equal for the Earth and Sun, about 1.5 million kilometers from the earth. It has been parked at that orbit since March, reported the Express UK.
Its status is that there are tests related to orbit control, monitoring the earth and sun while it holds a position there. It had kept its place in the Lagrange point when it arrived and stayed there for six months. Adjustments in its course will redirect its trajectory on Thursday for a Lunar flyby.
Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center (BACC) decides where the probe is remotely controlled for trajectory or course changes, track and where commands are sent to it, cited Nikkei Asia.
Assumptions on the Chang'e 5 course change
Alterations in the space vehicle's trajectory have several explanations as, why it is happening in the first place. Oddly, the BACC has not given any news of Chang'e 5, making unexpected courses is confusing for everyone, especially the experts.
What is happening to the probe is also under speculation. It might even be a mystery of sorts of why the probe is like that. Two outcomes have been considered on what is happening. It will be entering a lunar orbit around the moon or heading to the Lagrange point to park there again for some other unknown reason.
One assumption s that the Chinese probe will use the moon flyby to send it on the way to the 469219 Kamoʻoalewa. It is a quasi-earth satellite that will be in the flight path of the probe. Plans might be to get close enough and land to get a sample from a near-earth asteroid.
Some experts say the space vehicle might be running low on fuel, which means its missions are limited or have the probe left drifting in space. Plans for another mission to follow for a lunar sample return for Chang'e 6 had been scheduled for 2024 as a component of the joint China-Russia International Lunar Research Station to come, noted Space.
The chief designer of the Chang'e 5 spacecraft system of the China Academy of Space Technology, Jing Peng, spoke at Russia's Global Space Exploration (GLEX). He stated that the low fuel of the probe would not allow it to leave the Lagrange point.
The Chinese lander probe has done its job, getting a sample from Mons Rümker on the moon's near side. More concern is that the Chang'e 5 makes an unexpected course, whether it is moon flyby or saving precious fuel in the Lagrange point.