A research team led by Chinese scientists has mapped the chemical composition of the lunar surface with high precision, providing fundamental data for studying the evolution of the Moon.
The existing study based on lunar samples collected by the Apollo and Luna missions could only reveal the evolution of the Moon 3 billion years ago, missing the final critical period. Lunar samples returned by China’s Chang’e-5 mission, however, have proven to carry information about young volcanic activity about 2 billion years ago and distinct material composition.
The research team accurately estimated the content of major elements on the lunar surface by combining sample data from Chang’e-5, Apollo and Luna with a deep learning-based inversion model, said Yang Chen, a professor at Jilin University.
Subsequently, they created a new chemical composition distribution map of the lunar surface with high accuracy and high resolution, which comprehensively reflected the chemical characteristics of the lunar surface.
The study was jointly conducted by Jilin University, the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of Trento in Italy, the University of Iceland and other Chinese and foreign research institutions. The study was recently published in the journal Nature Communications.