NASA has chosen 9 groups to examine untouched moon samples introduced again to Earth by the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions, which have been locked away in storage for the previous 50 years.
The groups have been handed a mixed price range of $eight million to examine the lunar samples within the hopes of deepening NASA’s understanding of the Moon.
“By studying these precious lunar samples for the first time, a new generation of scientists will help advance our understanding of our lunar neighbor and prepare for the next era of exploration of the Moon and beyond,”explained Thomas Zurbuchen, affiliate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
Military organizations just like the US Naval Research Laboratory and educational establishments just like the University of Arizona, New Mexico and California Berkeley have been chosen to perform the testing alongside a number of in-house operations like NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center.
Work received’t start instantly, nevertheless, because the groups have to talk about how greatest to open the samples with out contaminating them first.
Six of the 9 groups will examine an Apollo 17 pattern core of roughly 1.8lbs of lunar rock layers delivered to Earth by Harrison Schmitt and Gene Cernan in 1972.
The remaining groups will examine samples left over from the Apollo 15 and 16 missions which were frozen or saved in helium since they arrived on Earth.
“Returned samples are an funding sooner or later. These samples have been intentionally saved so we will make the most of as we speak’s extra superior and complex know-how to reply questions we didn’t know we would have liked to ask,” Lori Glaze, appearing director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, mentioned in a press release.
The groups will examine precisely how water is saved within the extremely irradiated rock on the lunar floor in an experiment that was begun 50 years in the past. They can even discover matters comparable to area weathering, the geologic historical past of the Apollo 17 website, and previous volcanic exercise on the Moon.