Inside the rock samples collected by the Chinese lunar mission Chang’e-5 in 2020, scientists have discovered a new lunar mineral in the form of a crystal. It was named Changesite-(Y), in honor of the Chinese moon goddess Chang’e.
The find is a phosphate mineral and a columnar crystal. It was found in lunar basalt particles studied in laboratories in China. The discovery was made by researchers from the Beijing Research Institute of Geology, who found the Changesite-(Y) single crystal using X-ray diffraction when studying particles collected on the Moon.
The discovery was announced at a press conference on September 9. The Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification (CNMNC) of the International Mineralogical Association (IMA) has confirmed it as a new mineral, according to Chinese state media Global Times. This discovery means that China has become the third country to discover a new lunar mineral. Prior to that, new findings were reported by the United States as part of the landing of the Apollo crews on the Moon and the former Soviet Union during the Luna program.
The Chang’e-5 mission landed in the Oceanus Procellarum area in December 2020 and became the first to return lunar samples since the 1970s. During the mission, 1.73 kilograms of lunar samples were collected, and then the spacecraft safely delivered them to Earth for study, which led to a number of discoveries.
It is expected that China’s next mission to the Moon will be Chang’e-6. The lander from the Celestial Empire will try to collect the first samples from the far side of the Moon, which has never been turned to Earth.
Earlier we reported on how the Moon will be conquered: the confrontation between the United States and China.
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