Moon samples to be unsealed for study

Prelims level : Space Research Mains level : GS - III
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  • NASA will reveal never-before-seen morsels of the moon.
  • The astronauts of the Apollo missions that landed on the moon from 1969 to 1972 collected 842 pounds (381 kg) worth of lunar rocks, core samples, pebbles, sand and dust. Many of those samples were later opened on the ground. But three have remained sealed their contents stashed away for nearly 50 years.
  • They were intentionally saved for a time when more advanced technology would allow planetary scientists on earth to delve deeper into the moon’s mysteries.
  • The technology available in the 1960s and 1970s wasn’t able to do what we can do now.

Apollo 8

  • Apollo 8, the second manned spaceflight mission in the United States Apollo space program, was launched on December 21, 1968, and became the first manned spacecraft to leave low Earth orbit, reach the Moon, orbit it, and safely return.
  • The three-astronaut crew—Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders—became the first humans to travel beyond low Earth orbit, see Earth as a whole planet, and enter the gravity well of another celestial body. They were also the first humans to orbit another celestial body, see the far side of the Moon, witness and photograph an “Earthrise”, escape the gravity of another celestial body (the Moon), and reenter Earth’s gravitational well.
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