NASA researchers have unlocked the treasure trove, which Apollo-11 researchers had brought from the Moon in 1972. The American space agency has opened the specimens on Tuesday, after more than four decades, on account of its ANGSA (Apollo Next-Generation Sample Analysis) initiative. The intention behind these experiments is to practice procedures to analyze specimens gathered during future lunar missions. Notably, NASA aims to land the second man and the first lady on the lunar surface by 2024. The opening of a pristine sample of rock and regolith took place at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Dr. Darah Noble, an ANGSA program scientist at NASA, said, they can make assessments today that they were impossible during the years of the Apollo program. She noted the study of these samples would detail the science recovery from Apollo. Even more, the effort will assist new-generation scientists and curators to enhance their approaches. It will also assist them in building future explorers for upcoming voyages to the Moon. The American space agency has stockpiled and conserved all the samples ferried from the lunar surface. Until now, it has already studied some of them; still, there are some packages yet to be opened. NASA aims to unveil samples as technology continues to make progress.
Charles Shearer, ANGSA’s science co-lead, said the outcomes from these specimens would offer NASA new perceptions into the Moon. Shearer noted the analysis would unveil records of impact on the Moon, including landslides and evolution of the lunar crust. Apart from this, this study will assist NASA in improving understanding of how explosive reservoirs develop, grow, and communicate on the Moon and other planetary bodies. Along with this announcement, NASA has published an image that equates X-ray, which existed decades ago, and the latest X-ray computer tomography. The picture is evincing technological progressions for more than 45 years.
Apollo astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt had collected the newly-collected samples. Besides, NASA aims to open another sample, collected by the pair, in January. Both collections will be analyzed using techniques like mass spectrometry, ultra-high-resolution microtomy, and non-destructive 3D imaging. Above all, NASA aims to send new equipment and machinery along with the upcoming Artemis lunar probe. Those missions will pave the way for the next hop in space exploration.