Nearly 50 years have passed by since the Apollo missions brought back lunar samples back on Earth.
Some of the samples gathered on the moon have remained unopened for decades.
Others have been in cold storage ever since.
And now, according to reports, the American Space Agency is finally set to open some of the samples that have been brought back from the moon collected by the Apollo missions.
The Space agency has recently revealed that it has already selected two scientific teams that are set to analyze the decades-old materials from the Apollo 15 and 17 missions.
The goal of the study is to better understand the presence of organic compounds on the lunar surface, as well as how these materials are affected by cosmic rays.
The two proposals selected by NASA are part of the Apollo Next Generation Sample Analysis (ANGSA) program.
The Space Agency wants to get the most out of its historic, past lunar missions ahead of the next lunar ‘excursion’ set to take place in the 2020s.
The various samples set to be analyzed include those that have remained in cold storage since they were recovered from the moon in the early 1970s.
Scientists are eager to see what they will find from the unopened samples.
“This is a unique and exciting opportunity to use state-of-the-art techniques on lunar samples that have been preserved for almost 50 years and to study questions that scientists at the time may have asked but didn’t have the ability to answer,” explained Jamie Elsila from Goddard.
“It is a privilege to have access to these special samples and we hope to contribute not only to increase our knowledge of lunar chemistry but also to improve our understanding of how to best preserve samples returned by future NASA missions.”
Another team is set to study the geological history of the moon through the moon samples recovered by the Apollo mission. They will try to understand how long they existed on the moon and how much they were exposed to cosmic rays.
NASA hopes to understand as much as possible from the lunar samples before their next mission to the moon set to take place in the 2020s.
“Getting the chance to work on these samples is like participating in a completely new mission to the moon,” revealed Natalie Curran, a scientist leading the second team of researchers.
“Even though these are Apollo samples, they’ve never been opened, and we don’t know what surprises are in store for us. I’m excited to have a part in our generation’s era of exploration of the moon,” she revealed.