According to a press release of the Chinese national news agency, China found on The Moon what Americans and Russians couldn’t find during their multiple missions.
China’s first mission on the Moon discovered a new type of rock for the first time in 40 years. The rock has been found near the landing site of Chang’e-3 in the Imbrium basin. This is an impact site visible from Earth which seems to be filled with hardened lava.
Chang’e-3 lander has been launched in 2013 to the surface of the moon, where it deployed the Yutu exploration rover. The new samples of rock have been found and analyzed by Yutu.
A new study, published in Nature Communications journal by a team of scientists from the Washington University says that the rocks found by Yutu are basaltic in nature and they are different from everything that has been found before by the Russians or the Americans in their Apollo and Luna missions.
According to Bradley Joliff, co-author of the study, the diversity of the rocks present on the surface of the moon shows that its upper mantle is less uniform than that of the Earth.
According to scientists the natural satellite of Earth was formed after a crush between Earth and another huge body, from the debris expelled in the crush. The radioactivity in the mantle has been causing volcanic eruptions for about 500 million years after the event, spilling the lava onto the moon’s surface.
The rocks found by Yutu are estimated to be around 3 billion years old, much younger than any other basaltic rocks discovered by Luna and Apollo missions.
The amount of titanium present in these rocks is somewhere in-between the amount found in the rocks analyzed by Luna and Apollo, which had either very low or very high amounts. By analyzing the titanium inside the rocks, scientists can find out the time when the lava has solidified on the moon’s surface.
Scientists at NASA are saluting the discovery made by Chang’e-3 mission, hoping that there will be more in the future. They argue that having more information on the lunar rocks helps scientists understand better how the moon was formed and what was its history.
This discovery will be very helpful from future missions on the lunar orbit, making it easier to recognize other places with the same type of rock without the need of actually being on the moon.
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