Chinese ọkà mmụta sayensị kwuru na ọ bụ a ọhụrụ ụdị nkume na ọnwa. An unmanned Chinese amị n'ọnwa lander, ulo oru na 2013, ka enyoba oge ochie arịa ọrịa oruru mgbawa ugwu lava na kwuru na ọ bụ ịnweta mejupụtara kpamkpam n'adịghị ihe ọ bụla anakọtara site American astronauts n'etiti 1969 na 1972, ma ọ bụ site na nke ikpeazụ Soviet lander na 1976.
The ozi ọma, zipụrụ si mmetụta ndagwurugwu ahụ na Mare Imbrium, bụ ihe ncheta ọzọ na mbara ngagharị abụghịzi chebe nke ndị Russia, ndị America ma ọ bụ nke European Space Agency: Japan, India na China niile ulo oru amị n'ọnwa orbiters na ha onwe ha Tammy. Britain ulo oru ya onwe satellite, Prospero, na ya na roket, Black Arrow, site n'onwe ya igba egbe na saịtị na Woomera, Australia, na 1971 na mgbe ahụ pụrụ n'òtù ahụ ohere agbụrụ.
Since the end of the Apollo programme, US scientists have conducted their lunar research mostly from orbiters. Chang’e-3, China’s unmanned lunar mission, put down a rover called Yutu or “Jade Rabbit” on a comparatively young lava flow. This rover proceeded to identify a mineralogical mystery on the moon, a basalt with “unique compositional characteristics.”
The study, reported in Nature Communications, is expected to enhance readings from satellite instruments, and to throw new light on the origins of Earth’s nearest neighbour.
The moon is thought to have formed when a Mars-sized object crashed into planet Earth early in the history of the solar system. The debris from the collision coalesced and cooled, but radioactive elements deep in the interior heated up the rock beneath the crust, na 500 million years later, volcanic lava slurped into impact craters on the moon to form the so-called “seas” or maria.
The Yutu rover’s instruments started examining lava that probably flowed about 3 billion years ago. What they found won’t keep ordinary citizens wide awake at night, but it is a surprise for planetary scientists. Geochemists can reconstruct a rock flow’s history from the telltale mix of minerals in the cooled lava. Basalts sampled by astronaut expeditions or collected by a Soviet Luna probe tended to be distinguished in two ways: either high in titanium, or low.
But the latest find reported from the first soft landing on the Moon in 40 years is both intermediate in titanium content and rich in iron oxide.
“The diversity tells us that the Moon’s upper mantle is much less uniform in composition than Earth’s. And correlating chemistry with age, we can see how the moon’s volcanism changed over time,” said Bradley Joliff of the Washington University of St Louis, the only American partner in the Chinese team.
The mix of minerals in magma tells a story: that is because minerals in molten rock characteristically crystallise at different temperatures. So rock on the surface delivers clues to the deep interior of a planet.
“The variable titanium distribution on the lunar surface suggests that the Moon’s interior was not homogenised,” Professor Joliff said. “We’re still trying to figure out how this happened.”
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