Scientists have found a unique type of rock on the Moon, the analogues of which do not exist in the Solar System. This discovery can fundamentally change the perception of the lunar surface and its composition.
The results of the research of an international group of scientists from the universities of Bristol (Great Britain), Munster (Germany), as well as the Open and Cardiff universities were published in the scientific journal Nature Geoscience.
The data they were able to collect indicate that the rocks have unique chemical properties and were formed in the deep bowels of the Moon 3.5 billion years ago, writes IFL Science.
“The Origin of Volcanic Moon Rocks is a fascinating story about an “avalanche” of an unstable planetary-scale crystalline pile formed by the cooling of a primordial magmatic ocean.” said Tim Elliott, a professor at the University of Bristol and one of the leaders of the research team.
|Photo: NASA/Eugene Cernan
Scientists conducted a series of studies and discovered a critical reaction that affected the exchange of iron and magnesium in the magma. As a result, the physical and chemical properties of one of its components – the melt – changed.
“A central limiting factor is the presence of a magma type unique to monthsbut explaining how it could have reached the surface for sampling by space missions was difficult”– explained Tim Elliott.
High concentrations of titanium in parts of the lunar surface were known as early as the 1960s and 1970s, thanks to NASA’s Apollo missions, which successfully returned solidified magma samples from the lunar crust. Recent mapping by an orbiting satellite shows that these magmas, known as “titanium-rich basalts,” are common on the moon.
“Until now, scientists could not reproduce the composition of magma, which corresponds to the main chemical and physical characteristics of basalts with a high titanium content. It turned out that explaining their low density is particularly difficult.” – added Dr. Martijn Klaver, researcher at the Institute of Mineralogy, University of Münster.
Geologists have suggested that the titanium-rich basalts come from the lunar mantle or cumulate rocks. However, after conducting experiments using high temperatures, the researchers found that the partially molten cumulates did not match the basalts in question.
“Although this does not fully replicate the interaction between the melt and the solid body of the Moon, we hypothesize that titanium-rich magmas can be produced by partial melting of cumulates, and the melts undergo significant modifications through jet flow in the lunar mantle.” researchers note.
Scientists are convinced that the study of this basalt will help to find out how the surface of the Moon was formed and what processes affected it.
We will remind, NASA plans to build a lunar outpost for astronauts, as well as equip an ecosystem that will include animals.
Vira Shurmakevich, “UP. Life”
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