An illustration of the lunar surface. Depositphotos.

Chinese Mission to the Moon Uncovers New Lunar Mineral Called Changesite-(Y)

A Chinese Moon sampling mission that returned lunar soil to Earth made it possible for scientists to discover a never-before-seen mineral on the Moon. The scientists have named it Changesite.

Researchers from the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) have discovered a new lunar mineral from samples retrieved from the Moon by China’s Chang’e-5 mission.

Chinese scientists have discovered a new mineral on the Moon, the sixth found by mankind. Dong Baotong, deputy director of the CAEA, said the new discovery makes China the third country in the world to discover a new mineral on the Moon.

Known as Changesite-(Y), this new mineral is a colorless transparent columnar crystal. Chinese National Nuclear Corporation subsidiary Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology (BRIUG) discovered the element through the analysis of lunar basalt particles.

International Mineralogical Association’s Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature, and Classification has officially accepted Changesite-(Y) as a new mineral.

BRIUG researcher Li Ziying said the discovery has significant scientific significance for the study of lunar minerals, lunar evolution, and deep space exploration.

As the first lunar samples to be retrieved in over 40 years, China’s Chang’e-5 mission retrieved 1,731 grams of samples from the Moon in 2020.

A combination of technological advances and the unique environment of Oceanus Procellarum on the Moon, also known as the Ocean of Storms, enabled Chinese scientists to make the new discovery.

Based on geological age comparisons with U.S. and Soviet places of sampling, the area chosen for the Chinese sampling mission has a relatively younger geological history.

BRIUG is one of many institutions involved in lunar sample research, providing basic data for studying lunar evolution and evaluating lunar resources through the analysis of fission and fusion elements found in lunar samples.

Scientists found trace traces of a new mineral when they took the first 50 milligrams of lunar samples in July 2021. Despite this, the extremely tiny particles in the lunar soil prevented them from determining the mineral.

In the second round of lunar sample collection, the team requested about 15 milligrams of lunar dust. From over 140,000 tiny particles, the researchers selected a single crystal less than a tenth of the diameter of the average human hair, which measures ten by seven by 4 microns. Its crystal structure was decoded by the team, and its novelty was confirmed.


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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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