SYDNEY – The basaltic volcanic rocks collected as part of China’s Chang’e -5 probe from the Moon were about 2 billion years old and marked the youngest volcanic rocks so far identified on the Moon, according to an international research published in the journal Science on Friday.
Professor Alexander Nemchin of the Space Science and Technology Center at Curtin University in Australia, lead author of the study, said scientists determined the age of lunar rock samples during remote sessions with the Beijing Laboratory using large mass spectrometers that have helped revolutionize geology, similar to Curtin’s. High Resolution Sensitive Ion Micro Probe Facility (SHRIMP).
The rock samples were collected during the Chang’e-5 lunar mission in December 2020, the first time any nation had collected rock from the moon since 1976.
Nemchin said that after analyzing the chemistry of the stone, they found that the samples were 1 billion years younger than the stones previously collected on the Moon.
Co-author Professor Gretchen Benedix, also from the Curtins Space Science and Technology Center, said the new findings would give scientists more calibration points for crater chronology so they could derive more accurate and higher resolution ages across many planetary surfaces.
“These results confirm what experts had long predicted based on distantly obtained images of the Moon and raise further questions as to why these young basalts exist,” Benedix said.
The task will now be to find a mechanism that will explain how this relatively recent warming of the Moon may have supported the formation of basaltic magmas with temperatures above 1,000 degrees Celsius and ultimately help scientists improve the age dating of the entire solar system. .