Christmas is the time to open presents, and a group of scientists from NASA have an enviable present about to open: a sample of Earth and gases coming straight from the moon, nearly 50 years ago.
This is a sample taken from the Apollo 17 mission, the last manned mission of the Apollo project, which aims to explore the moon, and it took place in December 1972, and therefore 49 years ago.
At that time, it was believed that in the future, humanity will have more advanced technology and more advanced scientific knowledge, which will allow to study this specimen in depth. Other samples taken to be unlocked upon return to Earth #1
1970s, but one of them has been preserved for nearly half a century with the intention of later study.
The samples were collected by Gene Cernan, the last astronaut to set foot on the Moon. Cernan was exploring the Taurus-Littrow Valley on the Moon when he inserted a tube about 70 centimeters into the Earth to perform the pullout.
What do you hope to find and how to open
Scientists expect that they will find the gases when they open the sample. Hydrogen, helium and other noble gases are among the bets, from what is already known about the Moon. Examining these materials will help to better understand the appearance of the moon’s surface and will also help engineers prepare new tools and techniques for extracting space materials, whether on satellites like the Moon or on planets like Mars.
However, to unlock the material collected by Apollo 17, NASA requested the help of the European Space Agency, the European Space Agency, to develop a kind of “can opener” for the mission.
The scientists themselves called the drilling tool created by the European Space Agency in a playful way. This is done specifically to penetrate the container the sample contains, but to capture the gases without escaping them, preventing losses.
These gases will be placed in other containers, using an extraction collector developed by Washington University, based in St. Louis in the United States. Then, these recipients will be sent to different parts of the world for study.
“Each component of the gas analyzed can help tell a different part of the story of the origin and evolution of the dynamic elements on the Moon and in the early days of the Solar System,” said Francesca MacDonald, a scientist at the European Space Agency. Who collaborated on the project, in an official statement. published by the agency. It took 16 months to shape the perfect “can opener” for the task of opening a clean sample.
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