DEC 28, 2020 9:33 AM PST

China Willing to Share New Moon Samples

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

China has recovered the first new moon rock samples in decades, and from a previously unexplored part of the moon. Now working to study these samples in the lab, they are open to sharing them with the broader scientific community. 

In a press conference, Wu Yanhua, deputy director of the China National Space Administration, said that the samples are to be used for three purposes: science, public outreach, and for sharing with other countries and scientists globally. Whether these samples can be shared with NASA, however, depends on US policy. 

The Chinese lunar Chang’e 5 mission left for the moon in mid-November. Its reentry capsule landed in Inner Mongolia on December 16th, marking the end of its 23-day mission. The capsule, containing 1.73kg of lunar rock, was then airlifted to Beijing for processing, analysis, and storage at a facility belonging to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 

Initially, the mission aimed to collect 4.4 lbs (or 2 kg) of moon rock, however topographical difficulties when on the lunar surface made this impossible. Initially, the plan was to drill a 2-meter hole to collect 500 grams of material and then scoop an extra 1.5kg from the lunar surface. When the lander began drilling at its planned site, however, radar echograms showed that there were several layers of slate underneath. 

As such, the lander was unable to dig further than around a meter. Needing to complete the mission within one lunar day (14 Earth days) to avoid technical damage from the harsh lunar night, the researchers thus needed to stop immediately and collect all they could. 

Now back on Earth, scientists are working to keep the samples free from contamination by Earth particles. Initially unpacked in a vacuum environment and now in safe storage, scientists intend to take the smallest portions of each sample for each analysis to ensure their research will be as efficient as possible. 

 

Sources: Space.comCCTV

About the Author
University College London
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
APR 30, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
Dying Stars Can Give Birth to Planets too
APR 30, 2022
Dying Stars Can Give Birth to Planets too
It has been known for ages that the Earth orbits around the Sun along with 7 more planets and dwarf planets among many o ...
JUN 10, 2022
Space & Astronomy
The First Images from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope are Coming Soon!
JUN 10, 2022
The First Images from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope are Coming Soon!
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will release its first full-color images and spectroscopic data on July 12, 2022 ...
JUN 17, 2022
Space & Astronomy
First analysis of asteroid Ryugu rocks released
JUN 17, 2022
First analysis of asteroid Ryugu rocks released
When we think of asteroids, we often envision them smashing into our precious blue world and annihilating all life as we ...
JUN 25, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Dead Star's Cannibalism Points to Future of Our Solar System
JUN 25, 2022
Dead Star's Cannibalism Points to Future of Our Solar System
During a press conference at this summer’s American Astronomical Society meeting, a team of researchers presented ...
JUN 30, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
Discovery of the Fastest Nova Yet
JUN 30, 2022
Discovery of the Fastest Nova Yet
A Nova aka a New Star is a sudden outburst on the surface of a white dwarf (remnant of a dead star) when it pulls enough ...
JUL 21, 2022
Infographics
NASA Artemis Moon Program
JUL 21, 2022
NASA Artemis Moon Program
Humans haven’t stepped foot on the Moon since 1972, but NASA’s Artemis Moon Program aims to break that strea ...
Loading Comments...