Chinese Scientists Boast Groundbreaking Discovery from Moon Sample

( – Chinese scientists recently made an unexpected discovery while analyzing the sample Chang’e-5 collected from the Moon’s surface in December 2020. The discovery of “few-layer graphene” could have significant implications for future plans to utilize lunar resources and could provide new insights into the Moon’s early geological evolution.

This discovery questions the long-believed idea that the Moon was created when a small planet hit Earth, bringing most of its carbon with it. Previously, Apollo mission samples backed up the idea that the Moon has less carbon because of this big collision. However, the new findings suggest that the Moon might have its own way of capturing carbon over time. This means scientists might need to rethink what they know about the Moon’s makeup and history.

The team used a method called Raman spectroscopy, which doesn’t harm the sample, to find few-layer graphene on the Moon. This type of graphene, made up of two to ten layers, can also be created in labs. It might have formed because of solar wind hitting the Moon’s surface and ancient volcanic eruptions. Finding pure carbon on the Moon could challenge the idea that a collision with a Mars-sized planet created the Moon 4.45 billion years ago. However, researchers noted that meteorites might have also brought carbon to the Moon.

The Chang’e-6 mission collected rock and soil from one of the Moon’s oldest and largest craters, the South Pole-Aitken basin. The mission’s lander spent two days collecting samples before the ascent module lifted off from the Moon’s surface to return to Earth.

This accomplishment is noteworthy because recovering samples from the far side of the Moon is a complex task due to communication challenges. China is the first to bring back material from the far side.

China plans to continue its lunar missions this decade, aiming to establish an International Lunar Research base in collaboration with Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, and eventually land a Chinese astronaut on the Moon. This new era of lunar exploration promises to deepen the understanding of the geological history of the Moon, particularly its enigmatic dark side.

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