Chinese scientists discover natural glass in lunar soil samples
Beijing, May 8 (EFE).- Chinese scientists have discovered different types of natural glass materials in lunar soil samples, brought back to the earth by China’s Chang’e-5 mission in 2020, state media reported Monday.
Among the discovered glass materials is the natural fiberglass, which has been found for the first time and could provide crucial support for constructing future lunar bases, according to the Global Times newspaper.
The discovery of the natural fiberglass shows that “the lunar soil has excellent properties of forming and molding glass materials,” said Shen Laiquan, a researcher from the Institute of Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
“The glass material recorded multi-scale meteorite impacts ranging from several kilometers to nanometers, and different shapes of the glass could reflect the impact intensity of the meteorite. This is important for us to understand the formation and evolution of lunar soil,” said Zhao Rui, another researcher from the Institute of Physics.
Chang’e-5, the third Chinese spacecraft to land on the moon, returned to earth in December 2020.
The mission retrieved samples from the Moon weighing about 1,731 grams, the first lunar samples collected in over 40 years.
In its future missions, China plans to work with global partners to construct the basic version of the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) on the moon before 2028.
The Chang’e program – named after a goddess who, according to Chinese legend, lives on the Moon – began with the launch of the first probe in 2007.
China has invested heavily in its space program and achieved milestones like the successful landing of a probe on the Moon’s far side in January 2019, becoming the first country to do so. EFE