Samples from a Chinese mission show that the moon is “active” more recently than expected

Last year, the Chinese Chang’e spacecraft brought samples of lunar soil and rocks to Earth.

Chinese scientists show on Tuesday that the first moon rocks brought back to Earth in decades were more recent volcanic activity than previously thought.

Chinese spacecraft carried moon rocks and soil to Earth last year — of humankind First mission 40 years to collect samples from the moon, and a milestone in Beijing’s growing space program.

Scientists have discovered that the sample contained 2.03 billion-year-old basalt (a type of cooled lava), with the last known date of volcanic activity. Month It is approaching today for 900 million years.

In a statement, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said a sample analysis “revealed that the interior of the moon was still evolving about 2 billion years ago.”

Earlier moon rocks brought back by US and Soviet missions provided evidence of lunar activity up to 2.8 billion years ago, but left a gap in scientists’ knowledge of the more recent history of the Earth. rice field Natural satellite Because they were from the old part of the moon.

Chang’e 5’s mission is named after the mythical goddess of the moon and is a sample of 2 kilograms (4.5 pounds) from the previously unexplored region of the moon, called Oceanus Procellarum or Mount Rümker in the “Oceanus Procellarum”. Collected.

The Chang'e mission was the first in decades to bring a sample of the moon to Earth.

The Chang’e mission was the first time in decades to bring a sample of the moon to Earth.

This area was selected because it was thought to have been recently formed by scientists based on the low density of craters from meteorites on its surface.

“These results are very exciting, with amazing science and results in understanding the formation and evolution of the moon,” Audrey Bouvier, a professor of planetary science at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, said at a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday. We are providing it. “

Latest findings — published in three papers Nature Tuesday Journal — Opens a new question for scientists trying to decipher the history of the moon.

“How did the moon maintain volcanic activity for so long? The moon is naturally small and needs to disperse heat quickly, and the idea goes on,” said one of the authors of the study. CAS researcher Li Xianhua told reporters.

The Chang’e 5 sample shows a major step in China’s space program, which sent a rover to Mars and landed another aircraft on the other side of the moon.

Countries competing to catch up with the United States and Russia sent three astronauts to a new space station on Saturday. And it is expected to be operational by 2022.

Chinese capsules with moon rocks begin to return to Earth

For more information:
Non-KREEP origin of Chang’E-5 basalt from Procellarum KREEP Terrane. Nature (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-021-04119-5

Chang’e 5 Volcanic activity of the moon from basalt 2 billion years ago, Nature (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-021-04100-2

Dry lunar mantle reservoir for Chang’e 5 young mare basalt, Nature (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-021-04107-9

© 2021 AFP

Quote: Samples of China’s mission show were taken from on October 19, 2021 (October 2021). 19th) Shows more recent month “active” than expected

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Samples from a Chinese mission show that the moon is “active” more recently than expected

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