Get some rest
Good night, Chang’e-5.
The Chinese lunar lander has completed its mission of collecting the first lunar samples in nearly half a century – which means, Space.com reports that he is indeed dead.
His ascent vehicle took off with approximately four pounds of moon rocks on December 3 to meet with the mission’s orbiter and return to Earth.
This means that the lunar lander is finally able to rest hard. It simply wasn’t designed to withstand extremely low temperatures during the lunar night cycle, when temperatures can drop as low as -310 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chang’e-5’s predecessors, Chang’e-3 and Chang’e-4, featured heating units that allowed them to withstand such temperatures. Chang’e-4’s Yutu-2 rover was able to spend several night and day lunar cycles on the opposite side of the Moon.
China’s latest lander lacks that technology and may have taken a hit even before it succumbed to freezing temperatures. Reports suggest that the ascent vehicle sitting above the lander may have done some damage during takeoff, such as Space.com relationships.
While the samples themselves are still returning to Earth, the ascender vehicle launched itself back onto the lunar surface so it did not become orbital debris.
READ MORE: The Chinese lunar lander Chang’e 5 is no longer after successfully entangling the moon rocks [Space.com]
More on the mission: China crashed a spacecraft to the moon so it wouldn’t become space junk