October 7, 2022

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China's discovery of lunar minerals could add to a fuller view of the moon

China’s discovery of lunar minerals could add to a fuller view of the moon

Chinese scientists recently announced the discovery of a new lunar mineral among samples collected from the moon during a mission two years ago, adding to the body of knowledge about Earth’s moon that was the focus of space exploration earlier.

Scientists found a single crystal of a new phosphate mineral they called Changesite-(Y) while analyzing particles of lunar basalt, or solid parts of lava, Global TimesIt is a state-run newspaper and website.

The discovery was announced last Friday and was related to Chang’e-5, a mission He succeeded in retrieving moon samples As part of more ambitious plans for space exploration by China. In December 2020, experts said, the country became the first in nearly four decades to return lunar rocks and soil, collecting several pounds of samples.

The Committee on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification, the body of the International Mineralogical Association that reviews the introduction and naming of minerals, has confirmed the change of position of -(Y) as a new mineral, According to the China National Space Administration.

James Head, a professor of geosciences at Brown University, said the lunar samples are “the coin of the world” for understanding planetary evolution.

Analysis of samples collected by NASA decades ago, during the era of the Apollo moon landings and then Luna robotic vehicles in the Soviet Union, helped scientists I understand better What is the shape of the moon?

Scientists say these findings, along with the results of recent computer modeling, support the theory that the Moon originated from debris left over from a collision between Earth and a planetary body the size of Mars.

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Across the six Apollo missions, conducted between 1969 and 1972, NASA collected 2,200 samples, or 382 kilograms, of “lunar rocks, core samples, pebbles, sand, and dust from the lunar surface,” The agency said. NASA Continue to study samples from the Apollo missions and recently revealed one of its remaining samples in preparation for the Artemis missions to the moon, The agency said in a press release in March.

The new samples, collected from various locations on the Moon, will expand current knowledge of the planet’s “volatile reservoirs and geological evolution”, NASA said in the current situation.

So far, Professor Head said, most samples have targeted the central part of the moon’s near side, the hemisphere facing Earth.

Clive Neal, professor of planetary geology at the University of Notre Dame, said new minerals discovered on the moon are not in abundance. The first was Armalcolite, which was found during the Apollo 11 mission; The term is a portmanteau of the three mission astronauts.

The upcoming expeditions, which include efforts by both China and the United States, will target unexplored areas on the Moon. Professor Neale said samples from “other geologically interesting sites”, particularly from smaller terrain on the planet, could help broaden scientists’ understanding of how the moon evolved.

“The moon still reveals some interesting secrets,” he added.