The data collected by the Chinese module Chang’E-5 on the lunar surface they point out the existence of water, which is the first detection “in situ” of this liquid, according to a study published by Science Advances.
A research team led by the Institute of Geology and Geophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, observed water signals in the spectral reflectance data of the lunar surface acquired by Chang’E-5.
(You may be interested: This was the first space message that NASA sent to aliens)
Numerous orbital observations and sample measurements made in the last decade have provided evidence of the presence of water (in the form of hydroxyl and / or H2O) on the Moon, yet no “in situ” measurements have ever been made on its surface.
The module landed in December 2020 on Mons Rümker, in the Oceanus Procellarum, on the visible side of the Moon, one of the youngest marine basalts, located at a mid-high latitude of the Moon.
His mission was to take samples, a total of 1,731 kilos, and bring them to Earth, which he did that same month. Before taking the samples, the lunar mineralogical spectrometer (LMS) aboard the lander made spectral reflectance measurements of the regolith and a rock, thus providing the opportunity to detect water on the lunar surface.
(Also: Histories of the Cosmos: the science that ascends in balloon)
Quantitative spectral analysis indicates that the lunar soil at the landing site contains less than 120 parts per million of water, which is consistent with preliminary analysis of samples returned from Chang’E-5, the Chinese Academy of Sciences said in a statement. .
On the contrary, a light and vesicular rock (with small spherical cavities) that was also analyzed showed a much stronger absorption, corresponding to an estimate of about 180 parts per million of water, which “suggests an additional source of water from the interior. lunar”.
The results of the compositional and orbital remote sensing analyzes show that the rock could have come from an older basalt unit and ejected to the Chang’E-5 landing site. The lower water content of the soil, compared to that of the rock fragment, suggests that degassing of the mantle deposit occurred under the Chang’E-5 landing site.
This discovery provides a vital geological context for the analysis of the samples brought to Earth by the Chinese probe.
Find also in Science
A rare African script illustrates how the written language evolved
A century in Antarctica: from sealskin coats to bases with WhatsApp