French instrument DORN successfully completes lunar mission aboard Chang’E 6 lunar probe

French instrument DORN successfully completes lunar mission aboard Chang’E 6 lunar probe
French instrument DORN successfully completes lunar mission aboard Chang’E 6 lunar probe

Launched on May 3 aboard a Long March 5 rocket from the Wenchang site, the Chinese Chang’E 6 probe carried out a mission without incident on the far side of the Moon. She has now brought the first samples from this lunar region back to Earth, after a 53-day round trip. The mission embarked several international payloads including the DORN (Detection of Outgassing RadoN) instrument, the first active French instrument deployed on the surface of the Moon. DORN aims to study the origin and dynamics of the very thin lunar atmosphere (the exosphere), the thermal and physical properties of the lunar soil and the mixing of dust on the surface. The instrument must also improve uranium measurements carried out by satellite, by carrying out the first measurements of radon and polonium, two radioactive tracers, on the surface of the Moon.

The French DORN instrument was designed and built at IRAP, the Institute for Research in Astrophysics and Planetology (CNES/CNRS/Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier), under the project management of CNES*, in collaboration in particular with the CNRS1 and with the Institute of Geology and Geophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IGG-CAS), which assumed responsibility for the instrument after its delivery to China, and which participated with the French team and with a team from the China University of Geosciences Beiijng (CUGB) in the DORN operations in Beijing during the mission.

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