The presence of exotic rock debris in the lunar soil brought back by Chang’e-5 probe can provide key information for understanding the geological evolution of the Moon and the diversity of lunar rock composition.
Recently, a research team from the Institute of Geochemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IGCAS) identified seven exotic igneous clasts from more than 3,000 Chang’e-5 lunar soil particles.
The study was published Dec. 22 in Nature Astronomy.
These seven exotic rock fragments include: high-Ti botryoidal rock fragments, low-Ti basalt fragments, olivine plagioclase fragments, magnesian plagioclase fragments, highly evolved rock fragments, Mg-rich olivine fragments, and volcanic glass fragments.
Researchers believe they came from an impact spurt 50-400 km away from the Chang’e-5 detection site.
Meanwhile, a comparison with the lunar rock fragments obtained from the U.S. Apollo program revealed that the three exotic igneous rock fragments in Chang’e-5 lunar soil particles exhibit different mineral composition and compositional characteristics.
The special rock fragments found in this study provide evidence to reveal the diversity of lunar crust composition and magmatic activity.
This suggests that unidentified geologic units still exist on the Moon and could help in planning future lunar exploration missions.