The Chang'E-5 module detects "in situ" signs of water on the Moon

The data collected by the module chino Chang’E-5 on the lunar surface indicate 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 signs of water in the spectral reflectance data of the lunar surface acquired by Chang’E-5.

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) in the Luna, however, no measurements had ever been made “In situ” 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.

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 returned samples from Chang’E-5, indicated the Chinese Academy of Sciences it’s 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 lunar interior”.

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 landing site of Chang’E-5.

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.

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