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Chang’e 5i

China’s moon mission saw the Chang’e 5 space lander make a historic collection of samples from the lunar surface.

 

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  • Volcanic eruptions may explain lava rocks retrieved during China’s Chang’e 5 lunar mission
  • The samples date back 2 billion years – long after the moon is thought to have cooled and hardened
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Scientists believe samples may help create a timeline showing bombardment of Earth by celestial bodies, including the event that wiped out the dinosaurs.

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Phosphate mineral Changesite-(Y) was isolated using a series of processes, including X-ray diffraction, according to China National Nuclear Corporation, making China the third nation to discover a lunar mineral.

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Concerns over US Artemis Accords programme for moon explorations may be behind uncharacteristic rush from the Chinese side, scientists behind project say.

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Experiments were carried out using a small reactor during one of China’s lunar missions, and researchers have designed a solar-powered device to release oxygen from lunar soil.

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The 38-year-old Mohan is among a group of Indian women who have found successful careers in space science, including Tessy Thomas, Ritu Karidhal Srivastava and Muthayya Vanitha.

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PolyU team who developed scoops and container for China’s lunar craft to assess whether adjustments are needed for the next mission, as samples arrive on Earth.

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Billing the rivalry as market vs state may be an oversimplification, with China’s R&D spend increasingly market-driven as it seeks to incentivise innovation.

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Recent space missions have budgets ranging from US$200 million to US$2.5 billion. The public have a right to know about the risks of failure and debate how resources are to be prioritised in terms of earthly problems and heavenly ambitions.

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