Lunar models from the Chinese mission suggest the moon is cooler than thought


According to an article in the journal Science, the moon is cooler than previously thought, with fossils of solidified volcanoes brought by Chinese mission 1 billion years younger than those obtained by other missions decades ago.

Models from US and Soviet voyages are over 2.9 billion years old. Samples taken at China’s Chang-5 late last year — about 1.96 billion years old — suggest that volcanic activity lasted longer than previously expected.

Last December, a Chinese explorer touched down a large volcanic plain, the Oceanus procellarium, or an area never seen before by “oceans of storms.” About 1,731 grams of lunar specimens were later recovered and brought back to Earth.

One of the main goals of Song-5, named after the mythical Chinese deity of the moon, is to discover how long the moon has been in volcanic activity.

“The Oceanus procellular region of the Moon is characterized by high concentrations of potassium, thorium and uranium, which generate heat through prolonged radioactive decay and may retain prolonged magmatic activity near the Moon,” the article wrote. Authors including Chinese researchers.

The article states that the heat source for the magmatic process is called “tidal heating” or may be due to the heat caused by the earth’s gravity and drag.

The Chang-5 mission made China the third country to recover lunar models after the United States and the Soviet Union, which embarked on the last successful voyage to purchase goods from the moon.

China plans to launch Chang-6 and Chang-7 lunar missions, unrewed, over the next five years to explore the Moon’s South Pole.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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