China’s Chang’e 5 lunar probe finds first on-site evidence of water on the moon’s surface

Beijing, January 9: China’s Chang’e 5 lunar lander has found the very first on-site evidence of water on the moon’s surface, providing new evidence of the satellite’s drought.

The study published Saturday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances found that the lunar soil at the landing site contains less than 120 parts per million (ppm) of water or 120 grams of water per tonne, and a Light vesicular rock carries 180 ppm, which is much drier than on Earth.

The presence of water had been confirmed by remote observation but the lander has now detected signs of water in the rocks and soil.

A device aboard the lunar lander measured the spectral reflectance of regolith and rock and detected water there for the first time.

The water content can be estimated since the water or hydroxyl molecule absorbs at a frequency of about three micrometers, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported, citing researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). .

It was the solar wind that contributed the most to the moisture in the lunar soil, as it brought in the hydrogen that makes up water, the researchers said.

The extra 60 ppm of water in the rock could come from inside the moon, the researchers say.

Therefore, it is believed that the rock originated from an older, wetter basalt unit before being ejected at the moon landing site to be picked up by the lunar lander.

The study found that the moon had become drier over a period of time, possibly due to the outgassing of its mantle reservoir.

The Chang’e-5 spacecraft landed on one of the youngest marine basalts located at mid-high latitude on the moon. He measured the water on site and collected samples weighing 1,731 grams.

“The returned samples are a mixture of granules both on the surface and below. But an in situ probe can measure the outermost layer of the lunar surface,” Lin Honglei, researcher at the institute told Xinhua. of geology and geophysics of the CAS. .

Lin also said it is difficult to simulate authentic lunar surface conditions on Earth, which makes in situ measurement so essential.

The results are consistent with a preliminary analysis of returned Chang’e-5 samples, according to the study.

The results provide more clues about the Chinese Chang’e-6 and Chang’e-7 missions. Investigations into lunar water supplies are in the spotlight as construction of manned lunar stations is in the works for the next decades, according to the report.

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