The first person to set foot on the moon has a final mission before returning home.
Neil Armstrong needs to pick up the stone.
Carry as much as possible and as fun as possible.
The materials he collected will constitute the first samples taken by humans from another world.
Less than 10 minutes before the end of his moonwalk, Armstrong piled about 20 rocks into a special collection box with pliers.
He felt that he was not full enough, so he put another 13 pounds of the lunar soil into the container.
Today, in a locked, windowless lab at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, a tablespoon of soil is placed on a sealed plate.
It is one of the greatest scientific heritage of the Apollo program: nearly 850 pounds of moon rocks.
Over the past 50 years, the study of these rocks has changed our understanding of the Moon, revealing the environment in which the moon was born and the reasons for its mottled surface.
NASA has now decided to release three new samples for analysis.
No samples have been touched by scientists.
The upcoming vacuum experiment
Sealed core and long
Freeze the rock, only once at the moment the sample is opened.
That's why the materials have been put on hold since they were retrieved from the moon, said Ryan Ziegler, who is in charge of the Apollo rock collection.
NASA waits at the right time for the right scientists with the right technology.
With the arrival of the 50 th anniversary of Apollo 11 this year and the renewed interest in the moon before the proposed return mission, Ziegler said, it is time.
NASA's Lunar Sample Lab is a maze of sparkling metal cabinets and spotless linoleum floors built in the 1970 s to store rocks brought back from six lunar missions.
A complex HVAC system designed to keep air 1,000 times cleaner than the outside world, fills the facility with a faint artificial breeze.
Scientists can only enter with special white jumpsuit, hats and boots to limit pollution.
Ziegler says these are the most valuable rocks in the solar system.
See what they have revealed so far.
Before the Apollo 11 mission, scientists could not agree on where the moon came from.
It is inappropriate in the solar system-it is much larger than almost any other moon relative to its planets.
It was speculated that it was once an independent object "captured" by the Earth's gravity.
Others have suggested that when planets gather from the original dust plates, satellites form in orbit with the Earth. Many grade-
The school's textbooks tell us that, in fact, a mass of things on Earth are abandoned by the rotation of our planet;
The Pacific Ocean is considered the scar of this ancient loss.
Once scientists have seen the first Apollo rocks, all these theories must be abandoned.
The material of the moon is very old, only 4 years old. 5 billion years.
Although they contain many of the same chemicals as the rocks from the Earth, they are very poor in terms of "volatility"-molecules like water and carbon dioxide that easily evaporate when heated.
Some of the included features are produced only in the catastrophic showers of meteorites, the explosion of volcanoes, or the anger of particles from the sun.
At a meeting where Apollo 11 returned to Earth six months later to discuss the initial findings, no one was able to agree on the meaning of all this evidence.
Then, at the end of the meeting, geologists John Wood explained how the clues were combined.
He realized that the strange white spots in the soil samples that Armstrong rushed to collect belonged to an unusual rock type, known as the oblique edge rock, which formed when the mineral grew to crystallize from the molten rock.
Wood reasoned that at some point the moon must have been completely covered by the magma ocean, in which the original rock rocks float like icebergs.
The melting world will leave a strange blood.
The red light in the Earth's night sky.
To confirm Wood's theory, scientists need larger and better samples.
On 1971, Apollo 15 astronauts James Owen and David Scott found one and a half.
A pound of reversed animals on the edge of a crater in the northern hemisphere of the moon.
Scott cleaned up the dirt outside the Rock and realized what he was holding and started yelling. “Oh, boy!
"Guess what we just found out," shouted Owen, laughing happily.
"Guess what we just found out!
I think we found what we wanted. . . . What a beaut.
This sample is called "Genesis Rock"-a recognition of its role in helping scientists unlock the story of the origin of the moon.
It sits in its own glass box, not far from the plate with Armstrong soil.
"These precise samples tell us how the moon is formed," Ziegler said . ". About 4.
5 billion years ago, the theory was considered
The giant planet named "Theia" after the mother of the Greek lunar December goddess hit the newly formed Earth.
The impact broke Theia and the prototype.
Send millions of tons of material into space.
Our satellites were born, and some rocks were combined in orbit around the Earth.
The heaviest debris sinks into the center of the moon, and light minerals float to the top of the global magma ocean to crystallize, forming a thin oblique crust.
The rocks and dust recovered by Armstrong and Scott are the remains of this long historyago tumult.
Many researchers are skeptical that this "big impact hypothesis" was first proposed in the medium term. 1970s.
One of the designers of the hypothesis, astrophysicist Vettel Cameron, recalled that one of his colleagues called a speech "cosmic schmoo ".
The idea seems too arbitrary, too disastrous, too strange.
But Mr Cameron pointed out that the evidence was odd and seemed to fit only with a huge impact.
It is large enough to form a global magma ocean that forms the original rock.
It explains why the chemical fingerprints of the moon and Earth are so similar-they are formed by the same vortex of exploding rock.
It explains the lost volatile substances that are blown into space when the Earth and Theia collide.
Scientific experimental data from astronauts on the moon's surface also support this assumption.
Armstrong's comrade Buzz Aldrin and his successor deployed a seismic instrument on the later Apollo mission, showing relatively little iron in the center of the moon.
The theory is that after the collision, heavy elements like iron sink into the core of the Earth, while lighter elements are blown into the moon. (
It is worth noting that the Earth is the most dense planet in the solar system. )
Other rocks help us "go beyond the moon" to understand the history of the entire solar system, Ziegler said.
Most of the Earth's geological records are weathered by water and wind, or swallowed up by plate structures, but the moon's surface still has scars from once-erupting volcanoes and once-falling meteors.
The lunar sample provides evidence of an era known as the late heavy bombing, when the inner planets were attacked by a series of asteroids when they appeared to live on Earth.
By calculating craters on the moon, scientists have set up a system to estimate the age of features on other planets.
The close study of lunar material does not fully explain its history.
First, the researchers did not find the molecular fingerprints of Theia-allegedly the collision of Theia with the Earth created the moon.
Scientists also cannot agree on how water marks inside the sample accumulate when the global magma ocean should boil all the water.
"Of course, the story is not complete," Ziegler said . ".
Three new samples NASA wants
It represents half of the lunar material the space agency reserves, which will help answer these questions.
Some researchers will look for traces of water in rocks stored in the refrigerator for nearly 50 years.
Others will look for some volatile molecules, including water, trapped in tiny glass beads formed billions of years ago from the lunar lava fountain.
Several teams will work together on the materials inside the original vacuum tubes that astronauts seal when they are on the moon.
The way rocks are layered may provide insights about landslides that shape the moon landscape without wind, weather, and life.
The captured gas carries clues to the radiation-changing material, which in turn will help scientists understand the time when the rock is exposed to light before astronauts pack the Rock and take it away.
Some measurements, such as an analysis of the captured gas, can only be done at the moment the jar is opened.
Scientists will spend a few months before the big event rehearsing the experiment on a practice tube with samples from Antarctica.
"It's exciting to open something new," said Barbara Cohen, a planetary scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, who will lead gas analysis.
"We don't know what we will find.
"At the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston this spring-50 events since the Apollo 11 sample was first discussed many years ago-it was announced that the upcoming experiment was warmly received applause.
Since the last Apollo landing in 1972, the United States has not yet obtained any new materials from the moon, and since the Soviet Luna 24 probe flew four years later, no moon rock has been brought to Earth.
China is planning a sample return mission this year, and President Donald Trump has instructed NASA to send astronauts back to the moon by 2024.
But 2011 of the law prohibits the United States. S.
Federal scientists working with the Chinese Space Agency and NASA's lack of funds have raised doubts about Trump's proposed moon landing plan.
To fully answer the lingering questions, "We need to show the moon rock types better globally," Cohen said . ".
For this, "We need to go back.
But at the same time, she said the decision to open the Apollo sample itself was like a "mini-mission ";
Another chance to explore another place;
There is another chapter in the story of the moon.