The Moon holds a discovery that could change humanity | Exploration in sight –

A sensational new discovery on the Moon: the data reported by the Chinese rover shocks scientists around the world

The Moon is still a mystery to our scientists. Despite being studied for decades, despite the moon landing and proximity to our planet, there are still many things we don’t know about our satellite and the possible secrets it can still hide.

A recent discovery confirms the doubts and shows that we still don’t know much of the celestial body: the dark side of the Moon is getting bigger and bigger.

Discovery from China

Scientists continue to analyze rock and dirt samples brought back by China’s Chang’e 5 lunar rover. The latest findings point to new types of geological material from regions of the Moon yet to be discovered and explored.

Seven different types of rock have been identified among 1,731 kilograms of 2 billion-year-old regolith – the loose, friable dirt and rubble on the surface of the Moon. One of the rocks is a type of lunar basalt completely newcreated at a time when the Moon was still volcanically active.

This regolith is the youngest yet reported from the Moon and offers experts a glimpse into a different period than the other samples, helping them trace a tumultuous period in our neighbor’s history.

The seven rock types listed in the study are all considered “exotic” and are thought to have reached their current landing site from somewhere else.

“In such a young geological unit, a wide range of crustal components from various sources would have been transported to the Chang’e-5 landing site by ongoing surface processes on the Moon”write the researchers in the published article.

About 3,000 particles smaller than 2 millimeters (0.08 in) were sifted through by researchers, looking for evidence of impact cratering and past volcanic activity. Like on Earth, these types of igneous rocks can tell a geological story.

According to the researchers, three of the clasts were notable for presenting unusual petrological and compositional characteristics. The high-Ti vitrophic fragment – ​​with larger crystals embedded in a glassy rock – has mineralogy never seen before on the Moon and likely represents a new type of lunar rock.

The dark side of the moon

According to the study authors, these rocky particles could be associated with sites on the Moon as distant as 400 kilometers from where they were collectedblasted to the surface by a succession of asteroid impacts over the millennia.

“These exotic igneous clasts would record lithological diversity and regolith formation processes in young sea regions [circa 2 miliardi di anni fa] of the moon”write the researchers.

Surface of the Moon

Putting all these elements together, the conclusion is that these fragments come from parts of the lunar surface which we don’t know yetin geological terms. There may also have been volcanic eruptions that we are not yet aware of.

However, only about 0.2% of the material in the samples was classified as exotic, rather than the expected 10-20%. This suggests that scientists may need to rethink how impact ejecta travel on the lunar surface, at least in this newer region.

Chang’e 5 collected its samples in the Mons Rümker region, in the northern Oceanus Procellarum of the Moon, and further samples – as well as existing ones from previous missions – will be useful for better understanding how the lunar surface has evolved and where future base and landing sites should be located.

The research was published in Nature Astronomy.

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The Moon holds a discovery that could change humanity | Exploration in sight –

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