Mineral In Lunar Meteorite

European Researchers Discover New Mineral In Lunar Meteorite That Shows What Happens In Earth’s Mantle


European scientists have claimed to discover a new mineral in Moon meteorite. They said that it is a new high-pressure mineral. It has been named donwilhelmsite. The said mineral was discovered in a highly feldspathic lunar meteorite Oued Awlitis 001. It was found in 2014 in Western Sahara. The mineral was discovered within shock melt zones of the lunar rock. Researchers said that the mineral is composed of aluminum, calcium, oxygen atoms, and silicon. Researchers said that it can help scientists understand what happens in Earth’s mantle. They named the newly discovered mineral after Don Wilhelms. Wilhelms was an American lunar geologist. He played a key role in selecting the landing site for NASA’s Apollo missions.

Researchers said that the mineral forms around 460 to 700-kilometer depth. Earth’s mantle has a thickness of 2,900 kilometers. It is silicate rock layer which makes up about 84 percent volume of the planet. Researchers said that eroded sediments are carried by rivers and wind to the oceans. They are then subducted into the Earth’s mantle. The high pressure and rise in temperature transform minerals into denser mineral phases. Researchers said that donwilhelmsite is an important mineral. It is required for transporting crustal sediments. The study was done at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geoscience. Researchers used transmission electron microscopy to discover the new mineral.

Researchers acquired a part of the meteorite by the crowdfunding method. The objective of the initiative ‘Help us to get the Moon’ is to study lunar rocks and also help the public learn more about the Moon. The meteorite is on display at a museum in Austria. Moon is the only celestial body in the solar system where humans have set foot. It is also the only natural satellite of Earth. The US space agency NASA is working on a project to land the first woman and the next man on Moon. If all goes as per the plan, the next crew will touch down on the lunar surface in 2024. The agency wants astronauts to spend seven days on Moon and undertake a range of experiments.