Boom! Many Techniques Invented By HIT Support China's First Lunar Sampling Return Mission



At 1: 59 a.m. on December 17th, the Chang'e-5 returner landed safely with drilling and surface soil samples from the area of Oceanus Procellarum in the moon. This mission has successfully completed the task of taking sampling from other celestial body. Then, China has been the second country in the world which owns the technology of unmanned taking samplings from the moon.The technology of sampling on the moon is one of the four core technologies of Chang'e-5. The Academician Deng Zongquan, Professor Huang Yudong, Professor Zhao Yang, professor Zhang Xuexi and other scientific research teams from HIT have researched for the technology  more than 10 years. Meanwhile, some other researching fruits launched by our school also support this technology.

In 2009, the Chang'e-5 Project has been set. Amount of scientists were asked to give the solutions to the concerning problems. At that time, Professor Deng Zongquan and his team charged of the problem of collecting and packaging soil from the moon. Then, Deng and his team provided a method which could collect samples from the surface and inner part at the same time. It is the initial innovation in the world.

From 2011 to 2013, cooperating, with CASC and other companies, Deng and his team successfully designed the system of sampling and packaging and created an imitation. The achievement help to collect soil and shown the working process: digging and collecting several times by robot arms, storing the samples in the middle station and converting them into the package just in one time. Deng and his team also invented a new collecting technology by " two pipes in one package", which is a unique feature of Chang'E-5.

Cooperating with CASC, Deng and his team made a series of machines which could equipped into the Chang'e-5 for drilling and sampling in two years, from 2012 to 2020. On December 2nd, 2020, in an unknown extrem condition, Chang'e-5 have completed the series of tasks including drilling, dragging, sealing, tiding, converting and avoiding hinders by the integrating methods of pre-program and the tel-controling between the earth and the moon.


Sampling by drilling

Huang Yudong and his team designed the soft bag which was used to collect the soil. Confronting the problem of sealing and tidying, the bag and the sealing-rope, made by polymer fiber, have been integrated into the same part. The collecting structure, the soft bag, were not weaving in a common way. Its shape and features were settled by a top-art technology, and the stress between the rope and bag were balanced by a core method. The materials which were used in the soft bag should own the features like anti-heat, easy-folding, soft and textural. The soft bag which were made by these materials have overcome the harsh condition and finished the collecting mission perfectly.

Zhao Yang and his team was focus on drilling and condition of differen mechanism dynamics. He invented a system to support and monitor drilling. This system is utilized to rapidly analysis the application data, choosing a best situation and preparing for any emergence. In this system, scientists could monitor the process of drilling in  multi-dimension online and provide suggestions instantly. This system could imitate the process of drilling in the moon on the earth and predicting the condition of drilling when the flight walking in its route.

In view of the harsh requirements of light weight , high stiffness , high strength and heat resistant materials of the manipulator for lunar surface high temperature operation , Zhang Xuexi and his team solved the key technologies of the adaptive design and preparation of whisker reinforced aluminum matrix composites , the hot forming and control of thin-walled pipes and complex forgings , the strengthening and toughening of products and the dimensional stability treatment , developed the high performance manipulator structure , completed the development of bending and torsion combined loading device and the stiffness and strength assessment of the manipulator , provided technical support for the manipulator multi-point , multiple sampling and accurate transfer of samples , and showed excellent performance in the lunar surface sampling operation .

Chang'e-5 lunar surface sampling mission is a success. It is a great achievements leaded by the National lunar exploration and aerospace engineering center. The aerospace industry sector of China and HIT collaborate to finish the mission. In the process, we have set a good model of a cooperation with these steps: pre-research, engineering projects, technical research and the implementation.