Scientists discover exotic rock fragments in Chang’e-5 samples

(ORDO NEWS) — The Chang’e-5 mission delivered 1.731 kg of lunar regolith to Earth 2 years ago.

Recently, Dr. Zeng Xiaojia, Professor Li Xiongyao, and Professor Liu Jianzhong of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IGCAS) identified seven exotic igneous rocks from more than 3,000 regolith particles obtained by the Chang’e-5 mission.

This work was published in the journal Nature Astronomy on December 22.

Scientists have identified olivine-pyroxenite, magnesian anorthosite, a magnesium-rich olivine fragment, advanced lithology, low-titanium basalt, a pyroclastic glass bead, and a high-titanium vitrophyre fragment.

The researchers linked the exotic igneous rocks they found to materials ejected upon impact from other regions of the moon, located at a distance of more than 50-400 km from Chang’e-5.

Scientists believe that three exotic igneous rocks in the studied regolith exhibit unusual petrological and compositional features.

The vitrophyric fragment with a high titanium content showed a unique mineralogy among lunar basalts. It probably represents a new type of lunar basalt.

A fragment of magnesian anorthosite, which was not observed in the Apollo samples, indicates that magnesian anorthosite is also an important component of the lunar crust.

Pyroclastic glass evidence of a volcanic eruption on the Moon.

The identification of unusual lunar rocks in the Chang’e-5 sample suggests that the lithological components and magmatic activity of the lunar crust are more diverse than previously thought.


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