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Friday, December 2, 2022

The discovery of a lunar mineral by China may contribute to a more complete understanding of the moon

The body of knowledge regarding the Earth’s satellite that had been the focus of earlier space exploration was expanded upon by the recent announcement made by Chinese scientists regarding their discovery of a new lunar mineral among samples collected from the moon during a mission that took place two years ago.

While researching lunar basalt, which may be thought of as hardened bits of lava, the researchers came upon a single crystal of a new phosphate mineral that they have termed Changesite-(Y). This was published by The Global Times, which is a state-run newspaper and website.

The finding was disclosed the previous Friday and was associated with Chang’e-5, a mission that has been successful in the retrieval of lunar samples as part of China’s more ambitious objectives for space exploration. According to analysts, in December of 2020 it became the first nation in about forty years to bring back lunar rocks and dirt, gathering many pounds of samples in the process.

According to the China National Space Administration, the Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification of the International Mineralogical Association, which reviews the introduction of minerals and their naming, has confirmed that Changesite-(Y) is a new mineral. This body reviews the introduction of minerals and their naming.

According to James Head, a professor of geological sciences at Brown University, lunar samples are the “coin of the realm” for studying the development of the planet.

The examination of samples that had been gathered by NASA many years ago, during the time of the Apollo lunar landings and subsequently the Luna robotic landers of the Soviet Union, has assisted scientists in developing a deeper comprehension of the processes that led to the formation of the moon.

The results of modern computer modelling, as well as the facts described above, according to scientists, lend credence to a hypothesis that proposes the moon was formed from the debris that was left over after Earth collided with another planet around the size of Mars.

A total of 2,200 samples, or 382 kilos, of “lunar rocks, core samples, pebbles, sand, and dust from the lunar surface” were collected by NASA during the six Apollo missions that took place between 1969 and 1972. The missions were carried out by NASA. According to a press release from the space agency that was published in March, NASA is still doing research on samples from the Apollo missions and has only just opened one of the agency’s leftover samples in order to better prepare for the Artemis missions to the moon.

NASA said in a statement that the collection of new samples from various sites on the moon would improve the information that is already available about the planet’s “volatile reserves and geologic development.”

According to Professor Head, the majority of the moon’s surface has been sampled thus far on the near side, which is the hemisphere that faces Earth.

A professor of planetary geology at the University of Notre Dame named Clive Neal said that the newly found minerals on the moon do not have a high concentration. The first was a mineral known as armalcolite, which was discovered during the Apollo 11 mission. The name of this mineral is a portmanteau alluding to the three astronauts that participated in the voyage.

On the moon, future missions, which will involve efforts by both China and the United States, will be aiming for undiscovered regions. Professor Neal believes that if scientists were given samples from “other geologically intriguing areas,” particularly from younger terrain on the earth, it would assist expand their knowledge of how the moon developed.

A Boyle
I cover Science related topics for The National Era
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