China’s Chang’e 5 lunar lander just marked a historic first: The spacecraft became the first spacecraft to detect water on the moon at its landing site in real time. .
Chang’an 5 found water at its landing site near Oceanus Procellarum on the near side of the moon, using an instrument that detects water by determining spectral reflectance measurements of regolith (soil) and rocks.
Water was first detected on the moon from orbit, by Chandrayaan-1 . Quest using NASA’s Lunar Mineral Mapping tool (after a number of tentative discoveries by other missions and telescopes). The findings of Chandrayaan-1 were announced in September 2009, and the water has since been extensively mapped from orbit by missions like NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, was active at moon since 2009.
However, prior to Chang’e 5, none of the lunar missions found water in real time on the lunar surface. (The Apollo astronauts in the 1970s brought home samples that contained water, but it wasn’t.) discovered until decades later in the laboratory, after the equipment has been improved.)
Also contributing to the void found in the water is the long wait times between missions to the surface, as China’s Chang’an 3 mission in 2013 was the first mission to lightly touch the lunar surface since. Soviet Union’s Luna 24 mission 37 years ago, in 1976.
Landing missions should accelerate according to initiatives like NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Service program, which has a series of missions planned in the coming years. NASA also has a plan ice hunting expedition mission called the Volatiles Polar Probe (VIPER) will land in late 2023 or so just west of the Nobile crater, located near the moon’s south pole.
Water has a special spectral signature that is expected to show up in measurements from Chang’e 5’s lunar mineral spectrometer, which is designed to look for water. The challenge, however, was the intense heat at the lunar surface, which at first obscured the measurements, the Chinese team said in a press release from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The researchers used a “thermal correction model” to calculate the heat and then saw the signature of the water bouncing off at 2.85 micrometers, the release said. That said, the amount of water found is not very much, about 120 parts per million in limestone and 180 parts per million in light rock.
The results were confirmed with a lunar regolith sample that Chang’e 5 back to earth in December 2020, becoming the first probe to return matter to the moon since Luna 24 in 1976.
“This [proportion of water] Officials said in the press release.
Surface water is thought to be due to deposition from wind, the constant stream of charged particles coming from our sun. But there’s a more complicated origin story involving the moon rock, potentially water coming from within the moon.
Analysis of the rock’s composition and comparison with remote sensing images from orbit “suggests that the rock may have been excavated from an older basalt unit,” the researchers said in the press release. pushed to landing pad Chang’e 5″.
“Therefore,” the release continued, “the lower water content of the soil, compared with the higher water content of the rock fragment, suggests that degassing of the mantle reservoir beneath the Chang’e Landing 5 took place.”
The researchers found that the surface of the water is also consistent with volcanic eruptions (which can also carry water) in the Procellarum region, which carry potassium (K in the periodic table), rare-earth elements and phosphorus, a combination of materials abbreviated as KREEP. speak.
Chang’e 5 is also trying to reduce his age moon volcano used the KREEP document, but an update on that study was not provided in the press release.
China has carried out a number of successful lunar missions in recent years, including Chang’an 4, which has surpassed 1,000 days on the far side of the moon (first mission to land there) in November 2020. The nation plans to send Chang’e 6 next Collect samples from the far side of the moon in 2024.
The new Chang’e 5 study was co-led by Honglei Lin and Yangtin Lin from the Institute of Geology and Geophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The peer-reviewed study was published in a journal Scientific advance on Friday (January 7th)
https://www.space.com/china-change-5-lander-finds-water-moon China’s Chang’e 5 lunar lander finds water on the moon close-up for the first time