(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists led by Professor Yue Zongyu from the Aerospace Information Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have improved the lunar chronology model, which allows not only to more accurately date lunar rocks, but also to obtain refined data on the evolution of planetary bodies in the inner solar system.
This study is based on the radiometric determination of the age of new samples collected by the Chinese apparatus Chang’e-5 from the surface of the moon, as well as on the calculation of the number of craters in the landing zone of the apparatus.
When studying the Moon and planets, determining the age of important rock layers and dating events is of great importance. Previous lunar samples were collected from the lunar surface by the Apollo and Luna missions between 1969 and 1976.
These samples were determined radiometrically to be over three billion years old and less than one billion years old for different samples, respectively. This age reflected the real age of the rock layers from which the studied samples were extracted.
These samples became the basis for calibrating the crater count method, by which the age of areas of the lunar surface from which soil samples had not been taken could be determined.
Unfortunately, the large gap of 2 billion years between the ages of the collected samples – accounting for almost half of the lunar geological history – has thrown this chronological model into question.
Therefore, with the help of the Chang’e-5 mission, samples of an intermediate age were selected in December 2020 – which, according to the results of radiometric analysis, amounted to 2.03 billion years.
The study of this sample allowed the researchers to replace the chronological function of the model with a more perfect one, as a result of which an upward shift in the ages of the rocks was obtained by about 200 million years.
This feature will also help in the development of new chronological models for Mars, Mercury and other solid bodies of the inner solar system, the authors explained.
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