China has shared the first images of the first moon samples from its Chang’e 5 mission that returned in December last year with 3.81 lbs (1.731 kilograms) of soil and rocks from our natural satellite. Considered as the youngest lunar sample so far, pieces as small as dust particles up to larger chunks are stored inside a crystal container which will go on display in March 2021 at the National Museum of China. The container is called ‘zun’, which is shaped like a ritual Chinese wine vessel holding the lunar dust in a hollow sphere representing both the moon and the Chang’s re-entry capsule.
Newly surfaced images show Chinese president Xi Jinping congratulating Chang’e 5 space scientists and engineers at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on February 22.The Chang’s-5 took off in November last year atop the Long March-5 rocket from the Wenchang launch site in Hainan province and is the first to return with lunar samples.
The mission targeted a volcanic complex 4,265-foot in height called Mins Rumker on the rear side of the moon called as Oceanus Procellarum, latin for Ocean of Storms.
James Head, professor of geological sciences at Brown University, explained the region is ‘very unusual and nowhere near where we landed before’.He added that these samples will help in understanding ‘how young the moon had volcanic activity,which is an indication of how recently it has been geologically active, a critical question in the evolution of the planets’.
Director of the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences at Washington University notes the age of rocks and soil will help study about the history of moon between one billion and three billion years ago, reports Daily Mail.
He applauded his Chinese colleagues to carry out this difficult mission stating that the analysis of these samples will be legacy for coming years and hoped it will involve the international community of scientists. Jolliff adds that these will yield clues ‘to the availability of economically useful resources on the moon such as concentrated hydrogen and oxygen’.