The rocks of the Moon and Lanzarote are almost identical


Since NASA and ESA astronauts began training in their volcanic scoria fields in 2017, Lanzarote’s “lunar landscape” has gone from being a platitude to becoming a promise of science, but does it look so much like this Canary Island in the Moon? So much so that its rocks are identical to those collected by Apollo 14.

And the discovery is important because sooner or later man will establish a base on the Moon and for this he must first know what you can do with the materials that cover its surface: Can they be used to build a shelter or a road? Can these soils be planted? Is it possible to extract oxygen and water from it for the astronauts? Do they contain proper fuel for their ships (helium)? Like iron, titanium or chrome?

The importance of the Moon’s soil

In reality, man already has rocks brought directly from the Moon, thanks above all to the NASA’s Apollo program in the 1970s but they are so rare and so precious that it is inconceivable to experiment with them on a large scale.

For this reason, scientific groups around the world are searching the planet for places that not only resemble the Moon or Mars (the second goal of the new era of the space race), but also have soils with the same physico-chemical properties. Teams from the United States, Japan and China have released several such “analogues” in recent years, but in some cases they come from places with very scarce “lunar” resources, and in others – its rocks only resemble those of the earth satellite, but they have little to do in chemical and petrological terms. They don’t serve.

The rocks

In the latest issue of “Scientific Reports”group diary “Nature”four researchers from the CSIC Institute of Geosciences (IGEO), the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan) publish a new analogue of the Moon that would have left Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell speechless because their rocks are identical to the regolith they walked on, the characteristic mineral “carpet” of the lunar surface.

On February 5, 1971, Sephard and Mitchell landed on the Fra Mauro highlands, where the lunar module of the failed Apollo 13 mission was to land ten months earlier. They spent 33 and a half hours on the Moon, including nine in ” walks” to the surface, and 33.5 kilos of rock were brought back to Earth.

Fernando Alberquilla (IGEO-UCM), Jesús Martínez Frías (IGEO-Involcan), Valentín García Baonza (IGEO-UCM) and Rosario Lunar (IGEO) compared the known physico-chemical, mineralogical and morphological properties of these Fra Mauro rocks with the basalt samples they collected in the Peñas de Tao, in Lanzarote.

And his conclusion is that they are almost identicalor put in technical terms: shows “a strong correlation (between the Peñas de Tao and Fra Mauro), not only in mineralogical and geochemical terms, but also in its physical properties.

Which, they add, opens a new field of research in which there will be room, for example, tests to extract oxygen from basalt oxides, tests on the potential of these volcanic soils of the Peñas de Tao as building material or experiments with them directed to find out how it will be possible to sow and cultivate on the Moon.

Character font: EFE, 20 minutes,

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