A remarkable new feat recently achieved by Chinese scientists- they discovered the sixth new lunar mineral. They found the mineral that they named Change site-(Y) from surface samples returned by the country’s Change 5 robotic mission. It has been certified by the International Mineralogical Association and its Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature, and Classification.
China has become the third country in the world, after the United States and Russia, to have discovered and identified the first lunar mineral, Change site-(Y), which belongs to the category of lunar merrillite, according to officials from China National Space Administration and the China Atomic Energy Authority- during a news conference in Beijing.
According to the Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology, one of the key institutions under China National Nuclear Corp., the mineral, which has a single crystalline particle with a diameter of 10 microns, was painstakingly isolated by researchers from more than 140,000-minute particles.
Scientists retrieved samples from the Moon weighing about 1,731 grams, the first lunar samples in over 40 years. The China National Space Administration distributed the first batch of Change 5 lunar samples in July 2021.
Li Ziying, chief scientist of lunar sample research at the institute, explained that the discovery of the new mineral would help researchers in their studies on the history and physical traits of the moon.
Scientists could discover due to technological progress and the unique environment of the sampling site of the Change-5 probe on the northwest region of Oceanus Procellarum, also known as the Ocean of Storms, on the Moon.
“The history of the place where the Change 5 probe landed and collected the samples is much younger than that of the landing sites of previous US and Soviet missions; therefore, the characteristics of soil samples from there might be different from the US Apollo and Soviet Union’s Luna samples.”
Along with discovering minerals, scientists also measured the content and traits of helium-3, ideal fuel for future nuclear fusion power plants, from the Change 5 samples.
Li said, “The results will facilitate the prospecting and assessment of the resource on the moon.”