The moon is now a place where the US, Russia and China will compete fiercely. China has big ambitions in space, planning a large space station as well as bases on the moon. Now China has made a fascinating discovery, it has found a new mineral on the moon. After the USA and Russia, it is the third country that has managed to do something like this.

A great success for a Chinese scientist

During a press conference on Friday, Dong Baotong, vice chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA), announced the name of the new mineral as Changesite-(Y), according to a report published by the Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

“This is a major scientific achievement China has made in the field of space science,” said Baotong.

“It is also a powerful exploration of cross-industry and cross-professional cooperation between nuclear and aerospace.”

What exactly is a new mineral? Changesite-(Y) is a phosphate mineral in columnar crystal found in lunar basalt particles. 140 thousand particles were analyzed from the monthly sample. A single crystal particle with a radius of 10 microns was analyzed using various sophisticated techniques. China’s Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification (CNMNC) of the International Mineralogical Association (IMA) has classified Changesite-(Y) as a new mineral. The moon is full of mysteries and there may still be a large number of minerals that we do not know. So far, 6 new minerals have been identified on the Moon.
A staff member cleans up the surface of the container loaded with Moon samples retrieved by the Chang’e-5 probe in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 17, 2020.  Credit: Xinhua/Jin Liwang

The samples were obtained as part of the Chang’e-5 mission. Chang’e-5 is a Chinese robotic lunar exploration mission consisting of a lander and a sample return probe. The launch vehicle with the probe lifted off on November 23, 2020 at 20:30 UTC from the Wenchang Cosmodrome.

On December 1, 2020, at 15:11 UTC, the lander successfully landed on the surface of the Moon at the isolated Mons Rümker lunar dome complex in the Ocean of Storms (Oceanus Procellarum).

China’s Chang’e-5 probe from its lunar mission brought back samples of the moon for the first time in 40 years. The total weight of the samples was 1731 grams.
Several agencies participated in the sample research, namely the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Natural Resources. It is important for China to study the composition of the moon because it has big ambitions here.

Image credit: Credit: Xinhua/Jin Liwang