China’s Chang’e 5 lunar lander has discovered the first-ever in situ evidence of water on the moon’s surface, providing new evidence that the satellite has dried up.
The study, published Saturday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, revealed that lunar soil at the landing site contained less than 120 parts per million (parts per million) of water or 120 grams of water per ton, and that light vesicular rock held 180 parts. parts per million, which are drier than those on Earth.
The presence of water was confirmed by remote monitoring, but the probe has now detected signs of water in the rocks and soil.
An instrument aboard the lunar lander has measured the spectral reflectivity of regoli and rock and detected water instantly for the first time.
The state-run Xinhua News Agency, citing researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), reported that the water content could be estimated because the water or hydroxyl molecule adsorbed with a frequency of about three micrometers.
The researchers said it was the solar wind that contributed most of the lunar soil moisture because it brought the hydrogen that makes up the water.
According to the researchers, 60 parts per million of the extra water in the rocks may have come from the moon’s interior.
Therefore, it is estimated that the rocks descended from an older, wetter basalt unit before being ejected to the landing site for pick up by the lunar lander.
The study revealed that the moon became drier during a certain period, possibly due to the emptying of the mantle reservoir.
The Chang’e-5 spacecraft has landed on one of the smallest mid-latitude basalts on the Moon’s surface. She immediately measured the water and retrieved samples weighing 1,731 grams.
«The samples returned are a mixture of grains on and below the surface. But the on-site probe can measure the outermost layer of the moon’s surface,» Lin Hongli, a researcher with the Institute of Geology and Geophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told Xinhua. .
Lin also said that simulating the original lunar surface conditions on Earth is challenging, which makes in-situ measurement absolutely essential.
The results are consistent with the initial analysis of the returned Chang’e-5 samples, according to the study.
The results provide further clues to the Chang’e-6 and China’s Chang’e-7 missions. The report said that investigations related to water reserves on the lunar surface shed light on the construction of manned stations on the lunar surface in the coming decades.
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