Moon Rocks are being studied from the time of the return of the Apollo 11 mission. It is the same Apollo mission to the moon which included the world famous Neil Armstrong who was the first human to step on the surface of the moon. The moon rocks are not just normal rocks which are grey in colour as they are the “most precious materials on Earth” according to the NASA planetary scientist Samuel Lawrence.
“The Moon is the Rosetta Stone of the solar system,” Lawrence, who works at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, said in an interview with AFP. “It’s the cornerstone of planetary science.” “People don’t fully appreciate just how important studying the Apollo samples was for understanding the solar system and the universe around us,” he said. It has been 50 years now when Apollo 11 came back to the earth with the samples of the Moon’s surface. Apollo astronauts collected 842 pounds (382 kilograms) of rocks and soil during their six missions to the Moon between 1969 and 1972 and brought it all back to Earth. “Many of the discoveries that we’ve made in planetary science, not just on the Moon, but on Mercury, on Mars, on some of the asteroids, directly relate to some of the results that we obtained during the Apollo missions.”
The samples which were bought from the Moon helped the scientists to study more about the nature of our planet’s natural satellite and it also helped the scientists to understand how the Moon is of the same age as Earth’s age which is around 4.3 to 4.4 billion years ago. Debris spent the next several hundred million years coalescing in Earth orbit into the Moon we have today, explained Lawrence. “We learned that the interior structure of the Moon is like the Earth,” he said. “It has a crust, it has a mantle and it has a core.” And while life evolved on Earth, “the Moon is lifeless,” he said.
Lawrence also explained about the samples which are placed at the Johnson Space Center. He said, “They’re kept in sealed sample containers in a secure vault that’s capable of surviving hurricanes and many other natural disasters.” He also conveyed, “We’re very careful. These are the most precious materials on Earth and they go through a rigorous process when scientists request a sample.”.”