(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers in China have found that the landing area of the Chang’e-5 lunar lander was flooded by at least four layers of volcanic lava flows.
China has made excellent progress in exploring the lunar surface with its lunar missions. Thanks to missions such as Chang’e-4 and Chang’e-5, we have learned a lot of information about the Earth’s faithful satellite.
We recently reported on the discovery made by the Chang’e 5 mission about the water content of the Moon. To the researchers’ surprise, abundant traces of water have been found on the Moon.
This discovery is of great importance for future manned missions to the lunar surface and plays a decisive role in the future establishment of lunar colonies.
We also learned that China has discovered a completely new mineral on the lunar surface called chensite-(Y), which is of great importance because of its content of helium-3.
While the Earth is protected from solar wind explosions by its magnetic field, the Moon is being bombarded with large amounts of helium-3.
The use of this isotope could be useful for nuclear fusion reactors because it is non-radioactive and does not produce hazardous waste.
It is estimated that there are at least 1.1 million metric tons of helium-3 under the lunar surface, providing enough energy to sustain human life for at least 10,000 years.
A press release from the National Space Science Center (NSSC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said a team of researchers has found geological evidence that four layers of volcanic lava flow flooded the landing area of the Chang’e-5 lunar expedition.
Chang’e 5, China’s lunar sample return mission, returned 1,731 grams of samples to Earth in 2020. One of the youngest basalt units on the lunar surface is found in the northwestern region of Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of Storms.
Long-standing volcanic activity on the Moon is believed to be fueled by heat-producing elements such as uranium, thorium and potassium found in the region.
To further improve our understanding of lunar volcanic activity and evolutionary history, we need to measure the thickness of the basalt and its eruption rate in the Chang’e-5 landing area, explained Du Jun, lead researcher on the paper.
To answer these questions, scientists from the NSSC and other Chinese institutes have estimated the thickness of the haze basalt deposits located in the Chang’e-5 landing area.
A total of four magmatic eruptions occurred in the landing area, with an average thickness of 230 meters, 70 meters, 4 meters and 36 meters, respectively.
In addition, the study shows that about 2 billion years ago, the rate of eruption of haze basalts in the landing area of Chang’e-5 increased significantly.
As a result of these findings, it is possible to improve the numerical model of lunar volcanic activity in order to take into account the duration and scale of events.
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