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NASA unveils close-up of lunar sample finally opened after 50 years

NASA has finally opened a lunar sample after being sealed for 50 years.

It was one of the last unopened Apollo-era lunar samples, collected during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

One of the main reasons NASA kept the probe closed for so long is that the space agency was hoping for further development of the technology.

It’s been almost 50 years now and we have the technology to study the lunar sample in detail.

The sample opened earlier this week at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Thomas Zurbuchen, Deputy Administrator at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said: “We have had the opportunity to open this incredibly valuable sample that has been kept in vacuum for 50 years and we can finally see the treasures it contains. “

NASA just released close-up photos of the sample a live stream.

The mysterious sample was collected during the US Space Agency’s last manned mission to the moon.

The sample of the Apollo 17 mission will be exactly 50 years old on December 13 this year.

The lunar sample was carefully opened in a controlled environment.
The lunar sample was carefully opened in a controlled environment.
NASA/James Blair/Cover Photos/IN

Astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison “Jack” Schmitt collected the lunar sample by hammering a 14-inch tube into the lunar surface.

They also collected another sample that was unsealed.

Both tubes were filled with moon rock and dust.

The two samples were returned to Earth and the unsealed one was opened in 2019.

The vacuum-sealed tube is more exciting because it can contain substances called “volatile materials.”

Volatile substances are gases that vaporize at normal temperatures.

They would have escaped from the unsealed lunar sample tube, but they could be present in the vacuum-sealed one.

This handout photo released by NASA shows, from left, Dr. Juliane Gross, Associate Apollo Curator at the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division (ARES), alongside Dr. Alex Meshik and Olga Pravdivtseva of Washington University in St. Louis begin a gas extraction process of Apollo-era lunar samples on February 11, 2022 at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
This handout photo released by NASA shows, from left, Dr. Juliane Gross, Associate Apollo Curator at the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division (ARES), alongside Dr. Alex Meshik and Olga Pravdivtseva of Washington University in St. Louis begin a gas extraction process of Apollo-era lunar samples on February 11, 2022 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
NASA/AFP via Getty Images

That’s why gases were carefully extracted from the sample a few weeks ago by piercing the tube.

Ryan Zeigler, Apollo Sample Curator, said: “We have extracted gas from this core and we hope this will help scientists as they try to understand the lunar gas signature by looking at the different aliquots [samples taken for chemical analysis].”

It is hoped that the lunar sample will give researchers a better understanding of the lunar surface ahead of the next manned mission to the moon in a few years.

If you were wondering what the sample smells like, two NASA scientists revealed in today’s livestream that moondust appears to “smell like gunpowder.”

This article originally appeared on The sun and is reproduced here with permission.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/25/nasa-reveals-close-up-of-moon-sample-finally-opened-after-50-years/ NASA unveils close-up of lunar sample finally opened after 50 years

JACLYN DIAZ

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