China’s fresh moon rocks are younger than the Apollo samples and no one knows why


New analyses of moon rocks delivered to Earth by China’s Chang’e 5 mission confirm that volcanism occurred later than previously known, but also deepen the mysteries surrounding that activity.

China’s Chang’e 5 spacecraft collected 3.81 pounds (1.73 kilograms) of lunar dust and rocks from a region called Oceanus Procellarum on the near side of the moon in December 2020. The mission team targeted this landing area because of its apparent lower density of craters, suggesting it was significantly younger than areas sampled by the Apollo and Soviet Luna missions.

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