New minerals have been discovered by China named Changesite-(Y). The mineral, dubbed “Changesite-(Y)”, was named after Chang’e – a moon goddess in Chinese mythology and the namesake of the Chang’e-5 mission that retrieved a sample of lunar dust in 2020.
A joint announcement from the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) described the samples as “a phosphate mineral in the form of columnar crystals found in lunar basalt particles.China’s sample clocked in at 1.73kg (3.8lbs). It was collected from both the surface of the Moon and about 6.5 meters beneath the surface in an area thought to have been the site of volcanic activity.The loot was shared among 33 research centres.Crystal structure was separated and examined through X-ray diffraction by researchers at the Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology, a subsidiary of the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).They found a single crystal particle among the 140,000 lunar sample particles with a diameter of about 10 microns.
Unobserved minerals have previously been found on the Moon by both the United States and Russia. Changesite–(Y) is the sixth discovered lunar mineral, and has received approval from the organization that oversees such discoveries – the International Mineralogical Association’s Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification. Not, as you may have thought, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Finding Helium-3 on the Moon is no breaking news: it’s long been known to exist on Luna’s surface in greater abundance than down here on Earth where it is extremely rare. But what seems to excite the researchers is assessing its potential as a future fusion energy source – it’s capable of releasing large amounts of energy without making the surrounding material radioactive.The highly valuable gas is also extremely useful for cooling quantum machines.
CNSA and CAEA said it “adhered to the concept of peaceful use of space and peaceful use of nuclear energy,” as it continued to work on integrating the two technologies. The UK’s Imperial College has reportedly decided to shut down two Chinese-sponsored aerospace research centers after warnings they could unintentionally aid the Chinese military.Organisations like MI5 and the FBI have frequently issued warnings of Chinese espionage and the CCP’s strong long game.