China launched a Long March 5 heavy-lift carrier rocket in the early morning of November 24, 2020 at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in South China’s Hainan Province, tasking it with landing on China's independently developed Chang'e 5 lunar probe and bringing lunar samples back to earth. The launch marks China’s success in the “circling, landing, and returning” three-step development strategy of the lunar exploration and space program.
After sixteen years, the Chang'e lunar exploration and space program has finally won the “final battle” since officially launching in 2004. Its success is thanks to hundreds of scientists' hard work and the support of research institutions, including XJTU's science researchers. The surface sampling visual information processing system of Chang'e 5, which directly affects the result of the autonomous sampling task, was completed by the space vision team of the National Engineering Laboratory for Visual Information Processing and Application led by CAE member Zheng Nanning. Professor Wang Fei is the project leader.
The XJTU team is responsible for guiding the probe’s mechanical arm autonomously and accurately collecting lunar samples relying on the visual information processing system. Images taken in the sampling process will be compressed and transmitted back to the control center for research and analysis.
The space vision team is composed of young professors, visual information processing experts, and engineers with rich experience in aerospace product development. Established in 2007, the team was has been undertaking important tasks in China's projects related to manned spaceflight, lunar exploration, space robots, and other fields.