Chang’e 5 lunar mission collects rocks
According to scientists, China’s lunar rock samples – the first moon rocks to return to Earth in more than 40 years – were discovered by lava flows 2 billion years ago.
In a study published Thursday in the journal Science, a group of international authors led by researchers from the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences in Beijing said the Chang’e 5 lunar mission collected samples of young lunar basalt lava from the Oceanus Procellarum region.
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“Orbital data indicate that the youngest volcanic units on the Moon are basalt lava in Oceanus Procellarum, a region with high levels of the heat-generating elements potassium, thorium and uranium,” team wrote.
China’s Chang’e 5 lander used a drill to collect samples about 170 kilometers east-northeast of mons rumkeri – a large volcanic complex – and used radioactive dating to determine their age.
In measuring the chemical and mineral composition of volcanic rocks, the group found that the Moon remained volcanically active for longer than indicated by its size.
Lunar rocks from the Apollo and Soviet missions in the 1960s and 1970s revealed for the first time that volcano on the moon Happened over millions of years.
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The authors of the new study note that “there is no evidence for high concentrations of heat-generating elements in the Moon’s deep mantle that generate these lavas, so the longevity of lunar magmatism requires an alternative explanation.” “
Chemical analysis did not show an abundance of radioactive elements that would have provided the heat needed for late volcanism, and scientists still do not know Why was lava flowing on the Moon so long after it formed?
some principles The gravitational force from Earth may have played a role.
The findings could help scientists date surface areas on other parts of the solar system.
“The number of impact craters on the surface reflects its relative age, with older surfaces having more craters. The Moon is the only planetary body where impact crater ages have been calibrated with radiometric dating, so lunar chronology can be used to estimate age.” The surface of other planets in the Solar System,” the researchers explained.
Before now, scientists relied almost entirely on dating lunar samples that were 3 billion years old or more.
“In this study, we found a very precise age of about 2 billion years, plus or minus 50 million years,” said co-author Brad Joliff, a planetary scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, US-based. said in a statement. “This is an unprecedented result. In terms of planetary timing, it is a very accurate determination. And it is enough to distinguish between different totals of chronologies.”
formation of the moon about 4.5 billion years ago, 30 to 50 million years after the origin of the Solar System.