Science/Tech

Scientists Discover New Way To Study Moon Samples

Back in 1972, NASA astronauts raked around 245 pounds worth of Moon rocks and regolith after the Apollo mission wrapped up, carrying all of it back to Earth in order for scientists to study and  hopefully shed new answers about that mysterious space rock that we have just conquered for the first time. It was indeed a giant step for mankind.

However, scientists eager to study the chemistry of the lunar surface have been fighting for opportunities for the longest time for a chance at actually getting their hands on the space rocks that NASA has, unfortunately, sparingly distributed to experts for both research and development. Scientists, however, clever as ever, have just managed to come up with a new way to study Moon dust using the least quantity that is available, per a new report.

New Space Dust-Studying Technique

Per the researchers, the new technique includes studying dust from the Moon atom by atom. This way scientists can use a technique called atom probe tomography in order to use a single grain of regolith and split its individual atoms. With their findings published in the scientific journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science, the scientists behind it confirmed that this is the first time ever that such a technique has been utilized on Moon dust.

Furthermore, while few have heard of the method being used, it has actually already been around for quite some time. Usually, the method goes by a sample being zapped by laser, which then separates its atoms one by one with extreme precision and resolution. A detector is then used to analyze these atoms, which can then provide information that researchers can use to reconstruct particles on an atomic level, albeit digitally.

Per Jennika Greer, study author and geophysicist at the University of Chicago, along with her colleagues, they were the first to actually use the technique on lunar samples from the previous Apollo 17 mission. Based on their finds, Greer and the team were able to establish that the sample they studied had undergone massive weathering on the Moon’s surface, all thanks to its ever-changing atmosphere.

moon Despite living in ancient times, the classical Greek civilization still managed to accurately measure the ration of the Moon. Pixabay

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