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‘Hold your breath’ to open the Moon specimen sealed for 50 years

In December 1972, NASA astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt drilled into the lunar surface to collect two samples 73001 and 73002.

While 73002 was placed in a normal container and opened at the end of 2019, the 73001 was placed inside a sealed 3.81cm x 35.56cm metal tube at Johnson Space Center in Houston. , the state of Texas.

This week, folks! science of NASA opened this precious specimen on March 21 and March 22.

“We have the opportunity to open up a very precious specimen that has been kept for the past 50 years in a vacuum. They finally know what treasures are kept inside.” Thomas Zurbuchen, deputy administrator of NASA’s science mission division, said.

'Hold your breath' to open a sample of the Moon sealed for 50 years - 1

Close-up image of specimen 73001. (Photo: NASA)

Opening a specimen is not a simple process. Apollo deputy specimen manager Juliane Gross had to rehearse multiple times with mock specimens at Johnson Space Center.

The opening of this specimen comes just before NASA’s first unmanned flight of the Artemis 1 mission to return humans to the Moon. Artemis 1 is scheduled to take place next May.

“Understanding the geological history and evolution of lunar samples at Apollo landing sites will help us prepare for the types of specimens that could be collected in Artemis,” Mr. Zurbuchen added.

Scientists are very hopeful about the process of opening the specimen because unlike 73002, 73001 contains not only soil and rock samples but also gases on Earth’s natural satellite.

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