China reminds the world of its lunar ambitions. The Middle Kingdom is preparing a spectacular mission on November 24, Chang’e-5, a round trip to our satellite that plans nothing less than bringing back moon rocks to Earth, a first in a long time. The last time was in 1976, when the Soviets used the Luna 24 probe to collect 170 grams of regolith.
The Chinese mission is targeting the return of two kilos of rocks intended for analysis. The site chosen in the Mons Rümker region, a 1,100-meter-high mountain range located in the northern hemisphere, is one of the youngest areas of the Moon with material dating back less than three billion years. The goal of the study of the regolith is to know when the last volcanic activity of the satellite dates back, which should clarify its chronology a little more.