China Discovers a New Lunar Material on the Surface of the Moon: Here’s More About it
New lunar material has been discovered by Chinese scientists from the sample they’ve collected from the moon’s surface as part of the country’s 5th lunar exploration mission. This makes China the third country to discover lunar material.
Read more about it below.
China Discovers a New Lunar Material
Chang’e 5, China’s 5th lunar exploration mission landed on the surface of the moon at the Oceanus Procellarum on the 1st of December 2020 and is considered the first lunar sample return mission since 1970 after the Luna 16 space mission. As part of the mission, Chinese scientists collected more than 1.7 kilograms of lunar samples, and the new lunar material was discovered in the lunar basalt particles.
The new lunar material discovered by China is the 6th lunar material discovered so far and this discovery has also made China the third country to discover a lunar material followed by the United States and Russia. Chinese scientists have also named the new lunar material Changesite-(Y) after the Chinese moon goddess, Chang’e, and consider the new material as the key to limitless power.
The primary ingredient of the Changesite-(Y) is Helium 3 which is very rare on the surface of the earth but present abundantly on the moon. Helium 3 is also considered a stable source of fuel for nuclear fusion reactors.
Nuclear fusion is a natural process that takes place when two light atoms are combined in order to form a much heavier atom. This process takes place under extreme heat and pressure and is a process that takes place inside the stars.
Currently, we do not have a nuclear fusion reactor and the nuclear fission reactors used to create energy also creates a lot of unwanted nuclear waste which is a great threat to mankind. Nuclear fusion reactors are a much safer and much more efficient option compared to nuclear fission reactors and Helium 3 would become a perfect element for the process.
Plans for mining Helium 3 from the Moon’s surface have started to be discussed and the huge cost for the process is being estimated. China’s next lunar exploration mission, Chang’e 6 is expected to launch in 2024 and is planned on collecting lunar samples from the far side of the moon, a side of the Moon that never faces Earth.