China has now become the third country to find a new mineral on the moon after US and Russia. The clash between China and US is seen at its peak in recent weeks over the mission.
The staunch determination of the Chinese to rival the US in all areas has led them to initiate three missions(unmanned) within the following ten years, to the moon. Liu Jizhong, the Chinese official of the China Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center, has confirmed that they have received the green flag to proceed with the Change lunar program.
The new mineral discovered by the Change-5 mission is said to be a colorless and transparent crystal consisting of helium-3, which has been heralded as the energy source of the future.
The name of the new mineral was revealed by Dong Baotong, the vice chairman of China Atomic Energy Authority, as Change site-(Y). Scientists working at the Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology used high technological methods like the X-ray diffraction technique from the total collective sample particles thus arriving at the current structure of the crystal.
The CNMNC (Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature, and Classification) has approved it as a new mineral. As the name suggests, Change site-(Y) combines the two words, change, and site. This is in honor of China’s greatest lunar exploration project, more commonly known as the Change Project.
One of the reasons why the site remained invisible to the US and the former Soviet Union is because the site of retrieval of the samples was a billion years younger than the previous sites which were usually given more importance. This is seen as a very critical step to knowing the moon’s origin and evolution. Change site-(Y) has now become the sixth mineral ever to be discovered by humans on the moon.
Background History and the clash of giants
The lunar exploration program by China was initially established in 2004, and after three years commenced its first spacecraft. The name of the program Change is derived from the moon goddess in Chinese mythology. The main task of the program is to collect appropriate samples from the surface of the moon.
Both the US and China are concentrating particularly on the South Pole as it is the most preferred area to find water. According to Liu, China, in the future, plans to construct an international research station on the moon. They have also set their sight on Mars unsurprisingly coinciding with that NASA’s plans.
Ever since space mining has become the trend, all eyes are on the minerals present on the moon, which adds to more pressure between the countries. NASA already has placed its rover on Mars and is now looking forward to sending its astronauts to the moon again.
China has been constantly incriminated by the administrator of NASA, Bill Nelson, for the embezzlement of space technology and also for increasing space debris. The feud has intensified over the weeks as Artemis 1, US’s first major mission to the moon after a century had to be postponed.
The mission Change -5, sent in 2020, collected samples weighing around 1,731 grams over 40 years. This discovery will act as a boost to deep space exploration and also find out more about the evolution of the moon.
Many dignitaries from famous scientific institutes across China have come to study the new mineral to find its true nature and potential.
“The production of the Change-6 probe has almost been completed. To better understand the moon, given that CChange4 went to the far side of the moon for the first time, we, after discussions with engineers and scientists, decided to have the CChange6 probe retrieve samples from the far side of the moon and return them to Earth. So the samples will be much more valuable”, said Liu to the CMG. China’s new mineral discovery on Moon, Xi approves lunar research base