Apollo sample processors Andrea Mosie, Charis Krysher and Juliane Gross opened lunar sample 73002 at NASA’s Johnson Area Center in Houston.

NASA/James Blair.

Back in 1972, NASA astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt worked a tube into the moon, gathered rock and soil samples, and brought them back to Earth as part of the Apollo 17 objective.

The area firm had the insight to sock away samples from Apollo objectives for later research study as soon as innovation had actually advanced. Now’s the time for a few of these samples to enter the science spotlight.

NASA scientists opened sample 73002 on Tuesday as part of the Apollo Next-Generation Sample Analysis ( ANGSA) effort. It will be divided up for research study. This is the very first of 2 Apollo 17 samples ANGSA will take a look at.

” Studying these unopened samples might enable researchers to get insight into the origin of the lunar polar ice deposits, in addition to other prospective resources for future expedition,” stated NASA in a release on Wednesday.

This is sample 73002 seen with 2019 innovation (above) and 1974 innovation (listed below).


NASA shared an image revealing an X-ray calculated microtomography scan of sample 73002 in 2019 compared to an X-ray scan from1974 The clearness of the 2019 variation demonstrates how far imaging innovation has actually come.

” The analysis of these samples will take full advantage of the science return from Apollo, in addition to allow a brand-new generation of researchers and managers to fine-tune their methods and assist prepare future explorers for lunar objectives prepared for in the 2020 s and beyond,” stated ANGSA program researcher Sarah Noble

NASA hopes Earth’s stash of moon samples will quickly be broadened with the aid of its Artemis program. The firm prepares to send out people back to the lunar surface area by2024 That’s a tight timeline, however researchers would like to have more of the moon to take a look at earlier instead of later on.