Chinese New Moon Test Orbit Science
The spacecraft, which is part of China’s mission to restore Chang’o-5 2020, has been orbiting a unique moon more than a year after completing its primary mission.
The server module, which played a key role in delivering 1,731 kilograms of new lunar samples to Earth in December 2020, is now in far moon orbit (DRO), according to the amateur satellite tracker.
China has not released updated information on Chiang’o-5’s activities since May 2021, when China’s Lunar Research Program released space probe footage from deep space.
In a distant retrograde orbit, a spacecraft touches two fixed gravitational fields in front and behind the Moon relative to Earth. Due to the spacecraft's distance from the Moon,
it orbits the Moon once every few weeks. Such an orbit has never been used before, but NASA's upcoming Artemis 1 mission is scheduled to begin later this year.
NASA's Artemis 1 moon mission will be the agency's first big step toward returning astronauts to the lunar surface.