The government of China exhibited for the first time some images of the lunar soil samples collected by the Chang’e 5 mission. In all, 1.7 kg of materials were collected.
According to local authorities, the soil collected was composed of dark grains of rock, a material shaped like dust and basalt glass.
The arrival of the material is especially important due to the young age of the soil: the Chinese Chang’e-5 mission landed on the natural satellite in December 2020 and returned last year to Earth. According to the country’s president, Xi Jinping, sampling was the most important step in the current mission, which started with the probe just orbiting the moon and capturing images for analysis.
China has already confirmed that it will share portions of the sample with foreign research institutes. Scientists will not only be able to learn more about the lunar soil, but also find possible changes in the composition of the materials compared to previous samples.
Open to the public
The rocks will be shown to the public in March at the National Museum of China in Beijing. For the exhibition, a crystal compartment in the shape of a traditional Chinese bronze vase will be built to house the material.
The vessel has a symbolic size of 38.44 cm in height – reference to the distance between the Moon and the Earth, which is 384,400 km. The 22.89 cm width corresponds to the time the Chang’e 5 mission took between takeoff and return to the planet: 22.89 days.