NASA says the first person on Mars will likely be a woman

James Marshall
March 13, 2019

After almost 50 years of careful storage and being left untouched, NASA says it will finally study lunar samples that were collected during the legendary Apollo missions.

The walk will last around seven hours, according to NASA's website.

NASA bosses announced samples of lunar dust from the Apollo 15,16 and 17, which took place between July 1971 and December 1972, will be analysed for the first time.

The specimen-800 grams of gravel encased in a "drive tube" and stored by NASA-allows scientists to analyze the rock layers exactly as they existed on the Moon five decades ago.

"Returned samples are an investment in the future", Lori Glaze, acting director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, said.

NASA has selected nine teams, from NASA research institutes and U.S. universities, to examine the samples who were each awarded an $8million (£6.1million) grant for their research.

The teams have been handed a combined budget of $8 million to study the lunar samples in the hopes of deepening NASA's understanding of the Moon. They will also explore topics such as space weathering, the geologic history of the Apollo 17 site, and past volcanic activity on the Moon.

Teams will also study the landing site of the Apollo 11 mission to investigate its unique geological characteristics and its potential as a "cold trap" where water may have been able to freeze.

Bridenstine earlier said that Nasa's short-term objective is to get astronauts back on the moon and establish a permanent base there.

"Getting the chance to work on these samples is like participating in a completely new mission to the Moon", according to Curran. "I'm excited to have a part in our generation's era of exploration of the Moon". However, the water observed by LAMP does not decrease when the Moon is shielded by the Earth and the region influenced by its magnetic field, suggesting water builds up over time, rather than "raining" down directly from the solar wind.

University of California Berkeley: A team led by Kees Welten will study how micrometeorite and meteorite impacts may have affected the geology of the lunar surface.

In Bridenstine's published statement today, he summarizes: "Beginning with a series of small commercial delivery missions to the Moon as early as this year, we will use new landers, robots and eventually humans by 2028 to conduct science across the entire lunar surface".

Don't expect insight any time soon, though.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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