Friday, 08 October 2021 13:21

Curtin researchers help date the youngest rocks ever found on the Moon Featured

By Staff Writer
China’s Chang’e-5 Moon landing in December 2020 China’s Chang’e-5 Moon landing in December 2020

Researchers at Western Australia’s Curtin University have helped to determine the age of the youngest rocks ever found on the Moon, as part of a global space mission that is working to refine the chronology of the entire Solar System.

The new research, published in Science, determined the basaltic volcanic rocks, collected as part of China’s Chang’e-5 Moon landing in December 2020, were about two billion years old – or one billion years younger than those previously found on the Moon.

Curtin says the rock samples were collected by the Chinese National Space Agency during the Chang’e-5 mission, which marked the first time any nation had collected rocks from the Moon since 1976.

Lead Australian author Professor Alexander Nemchin, from Curtin University’s Space Science and Technology Centre in the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, said researchers determined the age of the lunar rock samples during remote sessions with the Beijing laboratory using large mass spectrometers that have helped revolutionise geology, similar to Curtin’s Sensitive High Resolution Ion Micro Probe Facility (SHRIMP).

“Previously, the youngest lunar basalt rocks collected as part of the Apollo and Luna missions, as well as lunar meteorites, were found to be older than about three billion years,” Professor Nemchin said.

“After analysing the chemistry of the new Moon rocks collected as part of China’s recent mission, we determined the new samples were about two billion years old, making them the youngest volcanic rocks identified on the Moon so far.

“This discovery puts Australia at the heart of efforts to internationalise scientific collaboration around China’s lunar exploration program, including samples returned from China’s Chang’e-5 mission and the upcoming Chang’e-6 Moon landing in 2024.”

Co-author Professor Gretchen Benedix, also from Curtin’s Space Science and Technology Centre, said the new results would provide researchers with more calibration points for cratering chronology, enabling them to derive more accurate and higher resolution ages across many planetary surfaces.

“These results confirm what experts had long predicted based on remotely obtained images of the Moon and raise further questions as to why these young basalts exist,” Professor Benedix said.

“The task will now turn to finding a mechanism that will explain how this relatively recent heating of the Moon may have supported the formation of basaltic magmas with temperatures exceeding 1000 degrees Celsius – and ultimately help researchers improve age dating of the entire Solar System.”

The research was carried out in collaboration with experts from the International Lunar and Planetary Research Center of China, The Beijing SHRIMP Center, The Australian National University, Washington University in St Louis, Notre Dame University and Brown University in the United States of America, the University of Colorado, Manchester University in the United Kingdom and the Natural History Museum in Sweden.

Read 1212 times

Please join our community here and become a VIP.

Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here
JOIN our iTWireTV our YouTube Community here
BACK TO LATEST NEWS here

GET READY FOR XCONF AUSTRALIA 2022

Thoughtworks presents XConf Australia, back in-person in three cities, bringing together people who care deeply about software and its impact on the world.

In its fifth year, XConf is our annual technology event created by technologists for technologists.

Participate in a robust agenda of talks as local thought leaders and Thoughtworks technologists share first-hand experiences and exchange new ways to empower teams, deliver quality software and drive innovation for responsible tech.

Explore how at Thoughtworks, we are making tech better, together.

Tickets are now available and all proceeds will be donated to Indigitek, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to create technology employment pathways for First Nations Peoples.


Click the button below to register and get your ticket for the Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane event

GET YOUR TICKET!

PROMOTE YOUR WEBINAR ON ITWIRE

It's all about Webinars.

Marketing budgets are now focused on Webinars combined with Lead Generation.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 3 to 4 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site itwire.com and prominent Newsletter promotion https://itwire.com/itwire-update.html and Promotional News & Editorial. Plus a video interview of the key speaker on iTWire TV https://www.youtube.com/c/iTWireTV/videos which will be used in Promotional Posts on the iTWire Home Page.

Now we are coming out of Lockdown iTWire will be focussed to assisting with your webinars and campaigns and assistance via part payments and extended terms, a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs. We can also create your adverts and written content plus coordinate your video interview.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you. Please click the button below.

MORE INFO HERE!

BACK TO HOME PAGE
Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous

WEBINARS ONLINE & ON-DEMAND

GUEST ARTICLES

VENDOR NEWS

Guest Opinion

Guest Interviews

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News

Comments