China’s Chang’e 5 lunar module finds first-ever on-site evidence of water on the moon

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China’s Chang’e 5 lunar module has found the first on-site evidence of water on the lunar surface, providing new evidence of the satellite’s dryness.

The study, published on Saturday in Science Advances, found that the lunar soil at the landing site contains less than 120 parts per million (ppm) of water, or 120 grams of water per ton, and a light, bubbly rock contains 180 ppm. which are much drier than those on earth.

The presence of water had been confirmed by remote observation, but the lander has now seen signs of water in the rocks and soil.

A device on board the lunar lander measured the spectral reflection of the regolith and the rock and discovered water on the spot for the first time.

The water content can be estimated because the water molecule or hydroxyl absorbs with a frequency of about three micrometers, reported the state news agency Xinhua, citing researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

It was the solar wind that contributed to the lunar soil’s highest humidity, as it brought in the hydrogen that makes up the water, the researchers said.

The additional 60 ppm water in the rock could come from inside the moon, according to the researchers.

Therefore, it is estimated that the rock came from an older, wetter basalt unit before it was hurled onto the landing site to be picked up by the lunar lander.

The study found that the moon had become drier within a certain period of time, likely due to the degassing of its mantle reservoir.

The Chang’e-5 space probe landed on one of the youngest mare basalts at a mid to high latitude of the moon. It measured water on the spot and took samples weighing 1,731 grams.

“The samples returned are a mixture of granules both on the surface and underneath. But an in-situ probe can measure the outermost layer of the moon’s surface, ”Lin Honglei, a researcher at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics at CAS, told Xinhua.

Lin also said that simulating authentic lunar surface conditions on Earth is challenging, which is what makes in-situ measurement so important.

The results are consistent with a preliminary analysis of the returned Chang’e-5 samples, according to the study.

The results provide further evidence of the Chinese Chang’e-6 and Chang’e-7 missions. Investigations into the moon’s water reserves are moving into the spotlight as the construction of manned lunar stations is planned for the next few decades, the report said.

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