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Current Affairs

Samples from China’s moon mission

Date: 27 September 2021 Tags: Space

Issue

Fragments of rocks and dust brought back by China’s Chang’e-5 moon mission are undergoing study and data will soon be given.

 

Background

Researchers are using geological mapping to identify exotic components in the sample brought back by the mission.

 

Details

  • The Change’e-5 mission had landed on the far side of the moon, which has not yet been visited by any country’s mission.

  • The samples brought back are younger than the samples that were brought by NASA and ROSCOSMOS missions about 50 years back.

 

The findings

  • Out of the total sample brought back, about 50% belongs to the area surrounding the landing site. These have been named ‘mare basalts’.

  • The volcanic rocks are part of the dark grey areas that were formed due to the ancient eruptions of lava. About 10% of sample has exotic composition.

 

Importance

  • The samples contain chemical signals of space rocks that have hit the Moon’s surface. They have managed to identify beads of rapidly cooled glassy material.

  • Extinct volcanic vents known as ‘Rima Mairan’ and ‘Rima Sharp’ were responsible for formation of volcanic beads.

  • Samples from rocks of young geological age have also been classified. These rock samples are not available on the near-side of the moon.