Chinese scientists are the third nation to declare the discovery of new mineral on the Moon. This is the first time this has been done.
According to a report from the Chinese state news agency Xinhua, the new mineral’s name was revealed at a press conference on Friday by Dong Baotong, vice chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA). It is called Changesite-(Y).
According to Baotong, this represents a significant advancement for Chinese science in the field of space science.
“It is also a powerful exploration of cross-industry and professional collaboration between the nuclear and aerospace industries.”
Changesite-(Y) is a columnar crystal phosphate mineral found in lunar basalt particles.
Researchers from the Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology used sophisticated methods, such as X-ray diffraction, to identify, analyse, and interpret a single crystal particle with a radius of about 10 microns from the 140,000 lunar sample particles.
Changesite-(Y) has been designated as a new mineral by China’s Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature, and Classification (CNMNC) of the International Mineralogical Association (IMA).
China has joined the US and Russia as the three nations in the world to have discovered the sixth new mineral discovered by humans on the Moon.
For the first time in more than 40 years, lunar samples were brought back to Earth in 2020 by China’s Chang’e-5 mission and weighed about 1,731 grammes. Additionally, the recently found lunar mineral was retrieved from the moon.
The study of Moon samples involved researchers from a number of organisations, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Natural Resources.
They have made important discoveries that have important ramifications for our understanding of the Moon’s formation & evolution as well as our efforts to figure out how to best utilise its resources.
The fifth lunar exploration mission of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, Chang’e 5, is also the nation’s first sample-return mission to the Moon and is named after the Moon goddess of Chinese mythology. On November 23, 2020, the mission was launched into space.
The Chang’e 5 (CE-5) orbiter, the first Chinese spacecraft to orbit the L1 Lagrange point, which is 1.5 million kilometres inside the Earth’s orbit, part-way between the Sun and the Earth, was successfully seized by the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrange point on March 15, 2021.
The orbiter, which was about 936,700 kilometres from Earth when it was captured, entered an orbit for about six months. During the 88-day journey to L1, its mission made two orbital movements and two trajectory correction manoeuvres. The orbiter also performed a lengthy lunar flyby on September 9, 2021, as part of an extended mission.
The Chang’e 5 orbiter could conduct very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) tests to help China prepare for the next phase of its Lunar Exploration Program. The Chang’e 5 orbiter may have transitioned to a lunar distant retrograde orbit (DRO) by January 2022, according to The Space Review. The analysis by The Space Review was based on assertions made by the Chinese government and its academics.