(Beijing, October 19, 2021) The Chinese Academy of Sciences released the latest research results of the samples brought back by Chang'e 5 robotic lunar probe. The research proves that the lunar sample is a new class of basalt of the lunar sea, which has never been collected by the lunar mission of U.S.A. or Soviet Union. The results show that the Moon still had active lava until 2 billion years ago, and that the mantle source region of late lava activity contained no radioactive heat-generating elements and was very "dry". The breakthroughs provide a new understanding of the evolution of the Moon and suggest a new direction for future lunar exploration and research, which are highly spoken of by international experts.
Associate researcher Hengji Tian working on lunar samples in the clean room at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
On December 17, 2020, the returned Chang'e 5 lunar sample was safely taken to the lunar sample laboratory located at the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. After finishing the unpacking, dividing, processing, photographing, describing and recording of the sample, the general project team of the lunar exploration quickly started the scientific research work on the lunar sample.
In order to unveil the mystery of the lunar sample as early as possible and provide the basic data of it to scientists for future scientific research, the team members worked overtime and carried out research work in four aspects simultaneously: basic physical properties, petrography, mineral composition and chemical composition.
The Chang'e 5 sample differs from the Apollo sample in that it represents a potentially young, "new" type of lunar sea basalt. The experimental results establish a framework for the fundamental characterization of Chang'e 5 lunar samples, refreshing our understanding on the late lunar lava evolution and volcanic activity history, and providing fundamental information for the subsequent ongoing studies of the Chang'e 5 samples
(The lunar sample is extremely valuable and scarce, and its importance to the development of the planetary science is self-evident. So, it’s quite critical to properly preserve the raw sample. There are strict storage requirements and it is clearly stated out in the " Management Measures on Lunar Sample " issued by the National Space Administration that:
The indoor environment needs to meet Class 10,000 clean room standards; the ambient temperature conditions shall maintain normal room temperature and pressure without drastic changes; the humidity meets the requirements and standards of ultra-clean chemical laboratories. The entire laboratory needs to be equipped with dehumidification facilities to keep it
The preservation environment needs to highly pure nitrogen, with no more than 20 molecules of oxygen and no more than 50 molecules of water per million moles of nitrogen. The nitrogen pressure should be slightly higher than the atmospheric pressure in the room.
Vigor’s glovebox adopts leak-free sealing technology with the leakage rate of less than 0.001vol/%/h, it can maintain ultra-low moisture and oxygen level (less than 1ppm for both) under negative-pressure operation. Vigor cooperates with key laboratories globally, and more than ten years of satisfying operation has proven that Vigor’s glovebox is durable, stable and reliable, it serves as a good helper for the various laboratories to go further on their way to success.