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Moon rocks collected by China’s Chang’e-5 lunar lander contain traces of WATER

Moon rocks collected by China’s Chang’e-5 lander contain water, a new study has confirmed, but not as much as scientists expected.

They found that lunar soil had H20 levels of around 28.5 parts per million (ppm), which is relatively dry, even by lunar standards.

But within the sample, the researchers found that the mineral apatite had a water content of up to 179 ppm.

This confirms previous findings from ground-based telescopes, orbiting satellite observations, and local data from Chang’e-5 itself.

The lander reached the Moon on December 1, 2020 as part of a mission to return rock and soil samples to Earth, which it accomplished two weeks later on December 16 of that year.

Discovery: Moon rocks collected by China's Chang'e-5 lander contain water, a new study has confirmed, but not as much as scientists expected.  Within the sample, the researchers found that the mineral apatite (pictured) had a water content of up to 179 ppm.

Discovery: Moon rocks collected by China’s Chang’e-5 lander contain water, a new study has confirmed, but not as much as scientists expected. Within the sample, the researchers found that the mineral apatite (pictured) had a water content of up to 179 ppm.

The lander reached the Moon on December 1, 2020 as part of a mission to return rock and soil samples to Earth, which it accomplished two weeks later on December 16 of that year.  Took samples from the area marked in red above

The lander reached the Moon on December 1, 2020 as part of a mission to return rock and soil samples to Earth, which it accomplished two weeks later on December 16 of that year. Took samples from the area marked in red above

HOW WILL ASTRONAUTS EXTRACT H2O FROM MOON ROCKS?

Engineers from the European Space Agency have successfully demonstrated how water and oxygen can be extracted by cooking lunar soil.

The setup uses a two-step process, well known in industrial chemistry for terrestrial applications, that has been customized to work with a mineral mix that mimics lunar soil.

In the experimental setup, the soil is vaporized in the presence of hydrogen and methane, then ‘flushed’ with hydrogen gas.

Heated to temperatures around 1,000 degrees Celsius, minerals go directly from a solid to a gas.

The produced gases and residual methane are sent to a catalytic converter and a condenser that separates the water.

The oxygen can then be extracted through electrolysis.

The solid byproduct is rich in silica and metals that can be further processed to obtain other useful resources for in situ exploration of the moon.

But while on the moon, Chang’e-5 used its onboard instruments to take a number of scientific measurements, including the spectral reflectance of moon rocks.

This is a process in which light reflected from rocks can indicate their chemical composition, including the levels of molecules such as oxygen and hydrogen.

Analysis by a separate Chinese team of scientists published earlier this year showed that in some types of rock, at a mid-latitude on the moon, water molecules were present at about 120 ppm and others at 180 ppm.

Many orbital observations and sample measurements completed over the last decade have shown that water exists, either as hydroxyl or H2O in lunar rocks.

However, no measurements have been made on the lunar surface itself to determine, up close, whether the molecules are actually in the rocks.

It is hoped that astronauts living on the Moon in the future will be able to extract molecular oxygen and hydrogen to produce water and pure oxygen.

In the new study, a team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences analyzed samples from Chang’e-5 and found signs of water linked to its mineral structure.

Parvathy Prem of Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, who was not involved in the research, said the amount of water observed was “sort of lower than we would have expected before the mission.”

It is thought that this may be because Chang’e-5 took the samples at a hot time of day or because the lunar spacecraft landed in an area shielded from the solar wind by Earth’s magnetic field.

In the new study, a team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences analyzed samples from Chang'e-5 and found signs of retained water in its mineral structure.

In the new study, a team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences analyzed samples from Chang’e-5 and found signs of retained water in its mineral structure.

The wind contains hydrogen that can turn into water when it meets oxygen atoms on the moon’s surface.

“This paper looks at some firsts from a very particular place gathered in particular circumstances, but this is an important part of the big picture,” Prem told new scientist.

It is not yet clear if this mineral water could one day be used by humans on the moon.

“You would have to process a lot of soil to get water out of it,” Prem said.

“Just in terms of quantity, even the wettest lunar soils are drier than the driest desert on Earth, so we’re talking about really small amounts of water. But water, especially beyond our planet, is precious.

The new study has been published in the journal nature communications.

NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the moon in 2025 as part of the Artemis mission

Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the moon in Greek mythology.

NASA has chosen her to personify their path back to the moon, which will see astronauts return to the lunar surface by 2025, including the first woman and the next man.

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and ground systems at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. .

Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed flight that will lay the groundwork for human exploration of deep space and demonstrate our commitment and ability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.

During this flight, the spacecraft will launch on the world’s most powerful rocket and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown.

It will travel 280,000 miles (450,600 km) from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the moon over the course of a roughly three-week mission.

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration of the Moon and Mars.  This graphic explains the different stages of the mission.

Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration of the Moon and Mars. This graphic explains the different stages of the mission.

Orion will stay in space longer than any astronaut ship without docking with a space station and will return home faster and hotter than ever.

With this first exploration mission, NASA is leading the next steps in human deep space exploration where astronauts will build and begin testing near-moon systems needed for missions to the lunar surface and exploration to other destinations. farthest from Earth, including Mars.

It will take the crew on a different trajectory and test Orion’s critical systems with humans on board.

Together, Orion, SLS and the ground systems on Kennedy will be able to meet the most challenging needs of deep space crew and payload missions.

NASA eventually seeks to establish a sustainable human presence on the moon by 2028 as a result of the Artemis mission.

The space agency hopes that this colony will discover new scientific discoveries, demonstrate new technological advances and lay the groundwork for private companies to build a lunar economy.

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