China to Launch Spacecraft to Collect Material from the Moon

2020/11/24 19:20

Today's Vocabulary

1. unmanned (adj)
used to refer to a spacecraft, or a place where military guards work, that has no people present to operate or be in charge of it

2. launch (v)
to begin something such as a plan or introduce something new such as a product

3. samples (n)
a small amount of something that shows you what the rest is or should be like

4. blast off (v)
(esp. of a spacecraft) to take off

5. drill (v)
to make a hole in something using a special tool

6. equipment (n)
the set of necessary tools, clothing, etc. for a particular purpose

7. effort (n)
physical or mental activity needed to achieve something

China to Launch Spacecraft to Collect Material from the Moon

China’s space agency is making final preparations to launch a spacecraft to the moon to collect material from the lunar surface. If the effort is successful, it will be the first time in more than 40 years that any nation has brought back samples from the moon.

The unmanned spacecraft is named Chang’e 5 after the ancient Chinese female god of the moon. It is set to launch early Tuesday aboard a Long March-5Y rocket.

It will blast off from China’s Wenchang launch center on the southern island of Hainan. The spacecraft is expected to take three days to reach the moon.

The Chinese mission aims to drill down 2 meters into the moon’s surface and collect at least 2 kilograms of rocks and other material, the U.S. space agency NASA says.

After the materials are collected by the lander, they will be placed in the spacecraft’s ascender. The ascender is designed to lift off from the moon and link up with a “service module.” The materials will then be moved to a return vehicle for the trip back to Earth.

Scientists say the Chang’e-5 mission may help answer questions about the moon’s past volcanic history. It could also provide data about when the moon might have lost its magnetic field.

The spacecraft’s time on the moon will be limited to about 14 Earth days. This is because it lacks heating equipment to operate for long periods in the moon’s freezing environment.

In July, China became one of three countries – after the United States and the Soviet Union – to launch a mission to Mars. China’s unmanned Tianwen 1 spacecraft is expected to arrive at Mars around February 2021. 

Once it begins orbiting the Red Planet, an explorer will attempt to land on Mars to collect data on the planet’s surface and search for signs of water.


  1. Would you prefer to go to the moon or Mars?
  2. What do you think would it be like to live on the moon?
  3. How important is space travel?
  4. What fascinates you most about space?

The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever.