Samples brought by Apollo 17 from the Moon opened 50 years later

Thomas Zurbuchen, affiliate director of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, mentioned: “We had the alternative to open this extremely priceless specimen, which has been saved underneath vacuum for 50 years, and eventually we have been in a position to see what treasures have been held inside” mentioned.


NASA first opened a Moon rock pattern. This tiny rock was collected by NASA astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison J.Schmitt in a landslide deposit in the Taurus-Littrow Valley in December 1972. This pattern, positioned in a 36-centimeter cylindrical tube, was vacuumed and sealed whereas nonetheless on the Moon’s floor.

When this pattern was brought to Earth, it was saved in a second protecting tube in a particular cupboard in the lunar laboratory and remained intact till this week.

Named 73001, this pattern comprises fragments of soil and rock that might present scientists with a historic file of the Moon’s geology.

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Some Apollo samples have been deliberately left unopened in order that future generations with higher expertise might research and study extra about Earth’s pure satellite tv for pc.

In a video shared by NASA on Thursday, Schmitt mentioned, “We had a lot of examples that gave us new data. Additionally, early on in the Apollo program, it was predicted that analytical expertise would mature and turn into way more advanced over time. In truth, the Apollo Moon undertaking by no means got here to an finish for scientists.” mentioned.

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Schmitt is a geologist, the solely civilian scientist to land on the Moon in historical past. The opposite 11 males have been all thought of energetic navy members.

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A workforce at the College of Texas at Austin used X-ray CT expertise to scan 3D photographs of the pattern inside the tube.

This shall be the first close-up view of Apollo 17 lunar core pattern 73001 eliminated from the propulsion tube because it was collected 50 years in the past.

Apollo specimen curator Ryan Zeigler mentioned in an announcement. “This shall be a everlasting file of what the materials inside the core appeared like earlier than it was pushed out and break up into half-centimeter items.” mentioned.

In February, one other workforce rigorously opened the tube to gather any gasoline that may be current in the tube.

Zeigler, “Now we have extracted the gathered gasoline and we hope this gasoline will assist scientists attempting to know the lunar gasoline signature by taking a look at completely different aliquots (samples taken for chemical evaluation).” mentioned.


The opening of this occasion is meant to organize NASA to gather new materials once they return people to the Moon later this decade by means of the Artemis program, named after Apollo’s twin sister.

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The Artemis mission, which can embody the first lady to land on the Moon and the first human of colour, can even land on the Moon’s south pole for the first time.

Far from the acquainted situations of the lunar equator visited by the Apollo astronauts, Artemis explorers will encounter the dramatic lighting underneath the Moon in addition to frozen situations and intriguing soil.

Lori Glaze, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters, “The Moon’s South Pole is a good place to kind probably massive deposits of what we name volatiles (substances that evaporate at regular temperatures, reminiscent of water ice and carbon dioxide)” says and provides:

“These volatiles can provide us clues about the place water comes from on this a part of the Photo voltaic system – from comets, asteroids, the photo voltaic wind or in any other case. The brand new samples collected throughout the Artemis program might assist scientists higher perceive the evolution of the moon.”

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