NASA astronauts from the Apollo missions that landed on the moon between 1969 and 1972 collected moon rocks and brought them home. Lots of moon rocks. 842 pounds of moon rocks. Some of those chunks were sealed away for future study at a time when technology had sufficiently advanced. That time has come.
Three parcels of “lunar rocks, core samples, pebbles, sand and dust” will be unsealed for 9 teams of scientists to study with an arsenal of new tools that weren’t available nearly 50 years ago. Astronomer Jessica Barnes said, “Now we can go to a mineral and we can look at the very fine details, down to almost the width of a human hair.” That’s according to The New York Times report on Wednesday.
The teams of scientists will be looking at chemical make-up of rocks and sand from the moon to determine how it came to be. And, some teams will be looking at the contents of the parcels with an eye toward NASA’s plans for future missions to the moon. Any future lunar outpost could really use a little extra insight into what they’ll be hanging out on, or near.