By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ISTANBUL (AA) - China announced on Friday that it had discovered a new mineral on the moon, making it the third country in the world to make such a claim.
The new mineral, confirmed by the International Mineralogical Association's Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature, and Classification, was retrieved by Chang'e-5 space mission from the moon weighing about 1,731 grams in 2020, said Dong Baotong, the vice chairman of China Atomic Energy Authority.
It was the first time in four decades that such lunar samples were collected by the Chinese space mission two years ago.
The new mineral has been named Changesite-(Y), Dong said in a statement.
It added that Changesite-(Y) is a phosphate mineral in columnar crystal found in lunar basalt particles.
Changesite-(Y) is the sixth mineral discovered on the moon.
Earlier, the US and the former Soviet Union had announced discoveries of new minerals on the moon's surface.
“This is a major scientific achievement China has made in the field of space science, and it is also a powerful exploration of cross-industry and cross-professional cooperation between nuclear and aerospace,” said Dong.
The new mineral was tested by experts at the Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology, who separated a single crystal particle with a radius of about 10 microns from 140,000 lunar sample particles using high-tech means such as X-ray diffraction and interpreted its crystal structure.