China: New Geological Map of the Moon

A new comprehensive Geological map of the Moon was released by China. It is the most detailed map till date.

Highlights

  • The Geological Map is likely to make a significant contribution to scientific research, exploration and landing site selection on the Moon.
  • Chinese scientists have created the high-resolution topographic map on the basis of data from Chinese lunar exploration project called “Chang’e project”.

About the Map

  • The new map is to a scale of 1:2,500,000.
  • It includes 12,341 impact craters, 17 rock types, 81 impact basins, and 14 types of structures.
  • Thus, it provides abundant information regarding the geology of the moon and its evolution.
  • It will make a significant contribution to exploration, scientific research, and landing site selection on the moon.

Who led this project?

Project on New Geological Map of Moon was led by the Institute of Geochemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with other organisations like China University of Geosciences, Chinese Academy of Geological Science, and Shandong University. Map was published on May 30, 2022 by Science Bulletin.

Background

Before this, the USGS Astrogeology Science Centre had launched a moon map in 2020, which was of the scale of 1:5,000,000.

Chang’e-5 Mission

Chang’e-5 mission has been named after ancient Chinese goddess of the moon. The mission seeks to collect lunar material, which in turn will help scientists in understanding more about origins and formation of Moon. It was launched from Wenchang Space Launch Centre in China from Long March-5 Y5 rocket.

Task of the Mission

  • It will drill 2 meters inside the moon’s surface and scoop up 2 kilograms of rocks and debris which will be sent back to the Earth.
  • It will help scientists in learning about Moon’s origins, Volcanic activity etc.

Significance for China

If this mission is completed successfully, China will become only the third country, after United States and Soviet Union to have retrieved lunar samples.

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