Chinese rover “Chang’e-5” detects signs of water on the moon

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The presence of water had previously been confirmed by remote sensing, but now the lander has found signs of water in the rocks and soil.

For the first time in history, the Chinese lunar lander Chang’e-5 has found evidence of water on the lunar surface. Instrumentation aboard the lunar lander measured the spectral reflections of the regolith and rocks and detected water in situ for the first time.

The study, published Saturday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, found that the lunar soil at the landing site contains 120 grams of water per tonne, while the light vesicular rock contains 180 parts per million, which is much drier than on Earth.

According to scientists, an additional 60 parts per million of water in the rock may come from the interior of the moon.

According to the researchers, it was the solar wind that contributed to the highest moisture content of the lunar soil, since it brought with it hydrogen, which is part of the water.

The study found that the Moon became drier over a period, presumably due to degassing of its mantle reservoir.

The Chang’e-5 spacecraft landed on one of the youngest basalts located at the mid-latitude of the moon. He measured the water in situ and retrieved 1731 grams of samples.

“The samples obtained are a mixture of granules, but the rover can only measure the outer layer of the lunar surface,” said Lin Honglei, researcher at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Xinhua.

Lin also said that it is very difficult on Earth to recreate the lunar surface conditions, which makes the rover work on site very important.

The results obtained provide more information for China’s future Chang’e-6 and Chang’e-7 missions. Research on lunar water reserves is in the spotlight, with plans to build manned lunar stations in the coming decades, according to a report by Chinese scientists.

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