The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has opened untouched rock and soil samples from the moon, which were brought back by the Apollo 17 lunar mission in 1972. It was collected by Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt, who drove a tube into the moon more than 40 years ago.
The examination will help experts practice techniques for when they study future samples collected on the Artemis missions as space and rock sample was opened in the Lunar Curation Laboratory on November 5th.
NASA’s Apollo missions have brought back 842 pounds of rock and soil from the moon, most of which have been examined. NASA has kept some untouched for when it would have more advanced technologies to use when examining the samples. Dr. Sarah Noble, ANGSA program scientist, said: We can make measurements today that were just not feasible during the years of the Apollo program.
… will maximize the science return from Apollo, as well as facilitate a new generation of scientists and curators to refine their techniques and help prepare future explorers for lunar missions anticipated in the 2020s and beyond.
The agency has saved samples from the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 missions untouched until this week. In both samples, 73002 and 73001, which were collected on Apollo 17 mission will be examined as part of ANGSA; advances in techniques such as non-destructive 3D imaging, mass spectrometry, and ultra-high resolution microtomy will provide for a coordinated study at an unprecedented scale.
The 73002 has been fully opened, and 73001 is set to be projected in January 2020, which both were collected in a two-foot-long tube from a landslide near Lara Crater on the moon. The agency told in a statement: It will also protect fragile soil components from damage during opening and processing and provides detailed images of individual grains and smaller samples known as rockets.