Lunar samples taken by China contained brand new mineral

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Lunar samples taken by China contained brand new mineral

The Moon has not finished revealing its secrets to us. Lately, chinese scientists have discovered a whole new mineral in the form of a crystal in lunar samples collected in 2020. The mineral in question was found in lunar basalt particles that were being examined in laboratories in China. The mineral was named Changesite-(Y)which is derived from the name of the Chinese Moon Goddess, Chang’e.

They are scientists from Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology who made the discovery. They found a single crystal of Changesite-(Y) using the X-ray diffraction method.

The new mineral discovered on the Moon
Credits Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology

This discovery was publicly announced on September 9.

The Chang’e Mission 5

The mission that brought the samples containing the new mineral back to Earth was the mission Chang’e 5. This arose in December 2020 on the site called Oceanus Procellarum. This mission undertaken by China corresponds to the first-ever return of lunar samples to Earth since the 1970s.

In all, 1.73 kg of samples could be collected and brought back to Earth. It was during laboratory analyzes that the discovery of Changesite-(Y) was made.

A rare find

The commission of the International Association of Mineralogy in charge of new minerals, nomenclature and classification confirmed that it was indeed a new mineral. This discovery thus makes China the third country to have discovered a new mineral on the Moon. Before her, there had been UNITED STATESwith the program Apolloand Soviet Unionwith the lunar sample collection missions Luna.

In the years to come, it is very likely that more unknown minerals will be discovered on the Moon. There is indeed the program NASA’s Artemis which has the objective of bringing astronauts back to the lunar surface, but there will also be Russian and Chinese missions.

For China in particular, the nearest lunar mission will be the mission Chang’e 6. Its objective will be to collect and bring back to Earth the first samples from the far side of the Moon.


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