The joint research team of the School of Civil Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering got the approval for borrowing the lunar samples collected by Chang’e-5 lunar probe for research purpose
On October 8th, 2021, the CNSA Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center (Lunar Sample Management Office) organized a review meeting on applications for borrowing lunar samples for research purposes in Beijing. After going through expert review, the application jointly submitted by Cui Yifei from Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Feng Peng from Department of Civil Engineering, and Xie Guoxin from Department of Mechanical Engineering was approved. They will be allowed to borrow lunar rock debris samples coded CE5C0800YJYX001GP, CE5Z0709YJYX002, and CE5Z0906YJYX005 with a total weight of 36.9mg. These are the first samples approved for and used by Tsinghua University in related research.
On November 24th 2020, the Long March-5 carrier rocket with the Chang’e-5 lunar probe was launched. The Chang’e-5 landed on December 1st in the pre-selected landing area on the front of the moon and completed lunar drilling, sampling, and packing tasks. The Chang’e-5 returner landed on Earth with lunar samples on the early morning of December 17th. The Chang’e-5 mission is the sixth mission of China’s lunar exploration project, which achieved unmanned sampling and returning from the moon for the first time in China.
The Chang’e-5 probe selected the basaltic area in the northwest region of Oceanus Procellarum (also known as the Ocean of Storms) (longitude at 51.9°E, latitude at 43.1°N) as the sampling site, which is a whole new sampling area of lunar surface sampling by man following the US Apollo mission and the former Soviet Union’s Luna mission. The lunar soil samples returned with Chang’e-5 are of great scientific value for a comprehensive understanding of the weathering, volcanism, regional geological background, and regional geological evolution on the lunar surface. In the lunar soil drilling and collection mission, the joint research team of the School of Civil Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Tsinghua University researched the characteristics of deep-layer lunar soil and the development of simulated lunar soil for the key technology research and product development of the drilling subsystem, which supported the product design and experiment verification and made important contributions to the successful completion of the lunar soil drilling and collection mission of Chang’e-5.
The THU research team applied for lunar soil samples with the primary purpose of studying in-situ physical and mechanical behaviors of lunar soils and the properties of key structure materials for lunar surface construction based on lunar soils to provide scientific support for the lunar soil-structure interaction issues (such as the making of lunar soil bags, building foundation pits, and foundation stability) involved in future deep-level lunar exploration missions (such as lunar science work station, lunar base, and development and use of energy resources on the lunar surface).