The Universe Has a New Mineral

China identifies transparent crystal on the moon
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2022 10:30 AM CDT
The Universe Has a New Mineral
A full moon.   (Getty/BrianEKushner)

China has identified a new mineral on the moon, joining the exclusive club of nations able to make that claim. The transparent crystal has been named Changesite-(Y), after the Chinese lunar goddess Chang'e, reports The International Mineralogical Association has confirmed the finding, which New Atlas reports is only the sixth lunar mineral so far discovered by earthlings. The first were detected by the US and the former Soviet Union, and this new discovery is based on analysis of lunar samples brought back in 2020 by China's Chang'e 5 mission.

In terms of significance, the more scientists learn about the makeup of the moon, the more they'll understand its origins. As the New York Times notes, a leading theory is that the moon formed as a result of a collision between Earth and another planetary body the size of Mars, and such discoveries add important pieces of information to the puzzle. More could come from China's next space mission, which will be the first to collect samples from the far side of the moon, per (NASA has run into some trouble with its latest efforts to return to the moon.)

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