Chinese scientists at the Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology discovered a new mineral in the moon samples brought back by China’s Chang’e-5 lunar probe in December 2020. They isolated a single crystalline particle of it with a diameter of about 10 microns (less than one-tenth the diameter of average human hair) from more than 140,000 tiny particles. Named Changesite-(Y), it looks crystal clear like a diamond and has been certified by the International Mineralogical Association. The name is combination of Change and site, which is to pay tribute to the great achievement of China’s lunar exploration project as it is often called Change Project.
Changesite-(Y) is a new kind of phosphate mineral found in lunar basalt grains. The news was jointly released by the China National Space Administration and China Atomic Energy Authority on Friday. China’s Change-5 lunar samples were collected from a basalt area on the moon known as Oceanus Precellarum. This is a region formed by lunar volcanic eruption billions of years ago. The landmark mission returned 1,731 grams of lunar rocks and soil back to Earth. The samples were divided into 21 lots and handed over to scientists from 13 domestic research organizations, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Natural Resources, working on 31 scientific projects.