Australian researchers from Curtin University have uncovered the history of the lunar soil sample that the Apollo 17 mission brought to Earth half a century ago.
Scientists from Australia studied soil samples from the Moon – they dated it using the method of uranium-lead geochronology. It turned out that the sample that American astronauts took from the Sea of Clarity (a crater on the lunar surface) 50 years ago is almost 4.2 billion years old. How long has it been? According to preliminary estimates, matter was formed about 350 million years after the birth of the solar system. The authors of the study emphasize that such ancient lunar soil is an extremely valuable sample for studying the young moon and the evolution of planets.
Scientists from Great Britain, Canada, Sweden, and Australia took part in the work. The goal of the researchers is to determine the age and geographic origin of the specimen. However, the team of experts has achieved much more. The results of the project helped to clarify knowledge about processes at the atomic level in minerals that have been subjected to extreme impacts throughout their history. Samples that astronauts took from the moon 50 years ago survived two collisions with the surface during the formation of the crater.
The research is published in the journal Nature Communications Earth and Environment.