Nearly two years after the launch of the Chang’e-5 moon exploration mission, China announced the discovery it made using lunar soil samples.
the September 9, the China National Space Administration and the China Atomic Energy Authority made a historic announcement. Scientists at the Beijing Uranium Geology Research Institute have identified a new mineral baptized Change Site-(Y). Is about sixth moon ore never discovered by mankind. The Chang’e-5 probe also provided more information about the helium-3 concentration on the moon.
The discovery of the Changesite-(Y)
Change Site-(Y) was named after the Chang’e-5 mission, which launched in 2022. The lunar exploration mission takes its name from the goddess of the moon from chinese mythology called Chang’e.
In addition, Chinese scientists discovered the Changesite-(Y) sample in 1731 g of lunar soil. Subsequently, it isInternational Mineralogical Association who confirmed yesa new ore. The sample, which the scientists found, is a colorless single-crystal particle with a radius of about 10 microns.
“We brought back 1,731 g of lunar samples from the Chang’e-5 probe. And through joint research, we have achieved substantial scientific results. »
Liu Jizhong, director of the China Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center
According to Liu Jizhong, more than 50 g of lunar soil brought back by the probe were distributed to other scientists. Currently, another distribution has been approved and will be the fifth. In concrete terms, this maneuver aims to carry out further studies in the samples.
Historically, China is he third country to have return them a new ore from the moon. The other two countries are USA and the Russia. Furthermore, the former Soviet Union’s Luna 24 probe is the last probe to return lunar soil samples in 1976. Therefore, the soil taken by Chang’e-5 is the first in 46 years.
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More lunar exploration in the future?
In addition to Changesite-(Y), Chinese scientists have also detected helium-3 in samples. This element has long interested various scientists, in particular as power source.
This isotope of helium has two protons and a single neutron. He is The special one stable isotope of an element with more protons than neutrons. For scientists, he is promising while nuclear fusion fuel with deuterium.
In a 1988 report, NASA already praised the benefits of helium-3. Apparently it would be able to produce a Large amount of energy Who carbon free and radioactive nuclear waste. In fact, neither helium-3 nor the products of the reaction are radioactive. This last advantage would make it possible to avoid many complications linked to the radioactive waste treatment.
Scientists now believe that the surface of the moon encloses over a million tons of helium-3. According to the International Policy Digest, such an amount of this isotope would be equivalent to almost 1.5 quadrillion (1,5,1024) of dollars. Unfortunately, the extraction of helium-3, as well as the creation of a nuclear fusion reactor, will continue to be complicated. However, these difficulties will probably not stop the lunar conquest.
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