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NASA to study Moon samples from Apollo missions

IANS  |  Washington 

US space agency has selected nine teams to study untouched samples collected from the by the Apollo missions in the 1970s and carefully stored for nearly 50 years.

A total of $8 million has been awarded to the teams, said in a statement.

"By studying these precious lunar samples for the first time, a new generation of scientists will help advance our understanding of our lunar neighbour and prepare for the next era of and beyond," said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington,

Six of the nine teams will look at one of the three remaining lunar samples, from Apollo missions 15, 16, and 17, which have never been exposed to Earth's atmosphere.

The samples these teams will study were brought to Earth vacuum-sealed from the by Apollo 17 astronauts and in 1972.

These comprise about 800 grams of material, still encased in a "drive tube" that was pounded into the lunar regolith to collect a core of material.

That core preserves not just the rocks but also the stratigraphy from below the surface so today's scientists can, in a laboratory, study the rock layers exactly as they existed on the Moon, said.

The core has been carefully stored at in Houston, Texas, since December 1972.

"Returned samples are an investment in the future. These samples were deliberately saved so we can take advantage of today's more advanced and sophisticated technology to answer questions we didn't know we needed to ask," said Lori Glaze, of NASA's Planetary Science Division in Washington,

The nine teams selected are from NASA Ames Research Center/Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, NASA Ames, NASA's Goddard Centre, NASA Goddard, University of Arizona, Berkeley, US Naval Research Laboratory, and the



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 13 2019. 14:56 IST