Scientists have determined that solidified lava debris carried from the Moon to Earth by China’s Chang’e-5 mission was a billion years younger than material obtained from other lunar missions decades ago. The results of the research were published in the journal “Science”. It could mean that our natural moon’s volcanic activity stopped later than previously thought.

The rock samples transported from the Moon to Earth by American and Soviet expeditions were more than 2.9 billion years old. Meanwhile, the samples obtained during China’s Chang’e-5 mission late last year are much younger, at about 1.96 billion years old. This indicates that our satellite’s volcanic activity has lasted longer than expected.

The scientists learned of their findings in the journal Science.

In December last year, an unmanned Chinese probe landed on a previously unvisited part of the massive lava plain in the Silver Globe – Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of Storms. Then 1,731 grams of lunar samples were taken and brought to Earth.

Chang’e-5 mission. Samples were taken from the moon

“The Oceanus Procellarum region on the Moon is characterized by high concentrations of potassium, thorium and uranium – elements that generate heat through prolonged radioactive decay and can maintain long-term magma activity on the Earth’s side of the Moon,” the authors of the article wrote, including Chinese researchers .

Scientists say that the source of heat for magma activity can also be called tidal heating, caused by Earth’s gravity.

Moon – Missions and Science

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Chang’e-5 . mission

One of Chang’e-5’s main goals — the mission named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess Chang’e — was to determine how long the moon had been volcanically active.

The Chang’e-5 mission made China the third country to ever sample the moon, after the United States and the Soviet Union. 45 years ago, the last successful mission to get materials from the Moon took place.

PAP / Adam Zimenovic

Main image source: NASA