(ORDO NEWS) — Chinese scientists have identified more than 40 chemical elements in lunar soil samples brought to Earth late last year by the Chang’e-5 mission.
According to experts, this discovery serves as an important benchmark for understanding how the formation and evolution of the moon took place, and will also contribute to the optimal development of lunar resources in the future, reports the portal of the Chinese newspaper Global Ttimes.
A research team from the China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE), part of the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), used neutron activation analysis to determine the element concentrations in the samples and found that the chemical composition of the lunar soil is very different from what can be found on Earth.
“We used nuclear technology to study samples, identifying more than 40 chemical elements, including macroelements and microelements,” Guo Bing, head of the CIAE Nuclear Physics Department, reported on the work done.
Experts note that since lunar soil is extremely valuable, non-destructive technologies for examining samples can greatly increase the efficiency of its use.
In particular, neutron activation analysis, which has a high degree of accuracy, makes it possible not only to determine which elements are contained in the lunar regolith without disturbing the morphology of the samples under study, but also to reveal the typical concentration of these elements.
“For example, from one ton of lunar soil, we could extract more than 30 kg of titanium, the content of which on the moon is more than six times higher than the average concentration of titanium in terrestrial conditions.
This provides us with important inputs for future exploration of the moon and the development of its resources,” says Guo.
The study of lunar samples is currently also focused on the search for water and helium-3, an isotope of helium, which is considered a very promising future fuel for nuclear fusion.
It is very scarce on Earth, but it is found in abundance on the Moon, which, perhaps, will also be of no small importance for the economy of the future.
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