What people have learned thanks to the Apollo 17 expedition

On December 11, 1972, the Apollo 17 spacecraft landed in the Taurus–Littrow Valley on the Moon. This expedition is known for the fact that its participants have become the last people who have walked on the surface of our moon to date. But, in addition, thanks to the activities of astronauts, scientists have learned a lot of interesting things.

1. How long ago was there volcanic activity on the Moon?

The age of the youngest rocks in the Taurus–Littrow Valley, where the lunar module landed, is 3.69 billion years old. Magmatic activity took place here for a very long time, and the Shorty crater, which was considered an extinct volcano, turned out to be a shock, although quite young.

2. What is the age of Tycho crater?

The age of the Tycho crater, which has a diameter of 85 km, is 108 million years. It is located 2,250 km from the landing site of Apollo 17. But one of its bright detrital “rays” passes through the Taurus–Littrow. The astronauts collected samples and determined the age of this structure.

3. Is there a lot of stardust on the Moon?

The researchers tested the particles constantly falling on the surface of the Moon. They hoped to find cometary matter and interstellar dust among them. However, the collected samples showed that only microscopic fragments of regolith mostly fall on the surface of our moon.

4. What does the Moon’s atmosphere consist of?

The Moon’s very thin atmosphere consists of helium, neon and argon. At the same time, the concentration of the first increases in the middle of the lunar night by 20 times compared to the day. This indicates that its source is the solar wind, and some rocks may contain an isotope suitable for use in thermonuclear reactors.

5. How do cosmic rays affect living organisms?

Cosmic rays do not lead to the destruction of fine structures in the organs of living organisms. This is evidenced by the experiment with rodents on board Apollo 17. Although some of them got high-energy particles into the brain and eyes, no serious damage was found.

Do you want to know more?

Then read our article about the crew of Apollo 17 — the last people who walked on the Moon, and their journey to the moon of our planet.

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