The moon didn’t die as early as we thought

Using isotope updating and a technique based on lunar crater chronology, which involves estimating the age of an object in space in part by counting the craters on its surface, the team determined that lava flowed into the Oceanus Procellarum as late as 2 billion years ago.

Chang’e 5 was China’s first lunar sample return mission and the first probe to bring lunar material back since 1976. Launched in late November and returned in early December 2020, it is one of the least eight phases of China’s lunar program to explore the entire moon.

Nemchin says there is no evidence that radioactive elements that generate heat (such as potassium, thorium and uranium) are found in high concentrations under the moon’s mantle. This means that these elements probably did not cause these lava flows, as scientists had thought. Now they will have to look for other explanations for how the currents formed.

The volcanic history of the moon could teach us more about the Earth. According to the giant theory of influence, the moon may just be a lump of earth that was knocked loose when our planet collided with another.

“Anytime we get new or improved information about the age of matter on the moon, which has a knock-on effect for not just understanding the universe, but volcanism and even just general geology on other planets,” said Paul Byrne, an associate. professor of planetary science at North Carolina State University who was not involved in the study.

Volcanic activity not only shaped what the moon looks like – the ancient lava beds are visible to the naked eye today as huge dark spots on the moon’s surface – but can even help answer the question of whether we are alone in the universe, says Byrne.

“The search for extraterrestrial life requires a partial understanding of habitability,” Byrne says. Volcanic activity plays a role in the cultivation of atmospheres and oceans, key components of life. But what these new findings tell us about potential life elsewhere remains to be seen.


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