Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin touched down on the lunar floor greater than 50 years in the past, but NASA continues to be probing the samples they introduced again on July 20, 1969, and the remainder of the Apollo collection. Apollo 11, just like the six missions that adopted it, had a major goal to gather samples of the lunar floor – 382 kilograms in complete – to assist be taught extra in regards to the historical past of the Moon and the Solar System. The lunar pattern constructing at the Johnson Space Centre is the chief repository for the 400 Apollo samples and in June two had been opened for the primary time in 48 years, in what scientists dubbed “the Holy Grail” of samples.
However, there are extra.
In reality, 15 p.c of all the pieces collected from the Moon are stored in a secret location, Andrea Mosie, the Lab Manager at the Johnson Space Centre revealed in the course of the “Smarter Every Day” YouTube collection a month later.
She instructed presenter Destin Sandlin: “This is the pristine pattern vault, and all of the samples are literally nonetheless saved in nitrogen cupboards, and likewise [separated] by mission.
“You can search for there, you may see the mission, similar to that.
The NASA employee took the cameras into the Johnson Space Centre
The Apollo 11 crew
There is one other distant facility
“This is Apollo 11, the primary mission, these are the samples, all of the samples – Apollo 11 over in that nook, that’s Apollo 12, these are 14’s, 15’s, 16’s and 17’s.”
Then Mr Sandlin requested the important thing query, probing: “Why don’t we have them in multiple locations?”
Ms Mosie admitted: “There is one other distant facility that we’ve, simply in case the Johnson Space Centre was destroyed.
“We have 15 p.c of the samples saved in a distant location for storage elsewhere is all I can say.
“That’s why we name it distant.”
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Destin Sandlin tried his hand on the samples
Ms Mosie then went on to look at one of many samples, revealing to the cameras how they’re studied.
She added: “Each one in every of them has a safety seal on them, which signifies that we’ve inventoried each pattern in these cupboards and we all know our database has ever pattern, each container quantity, each pattern weight and outline.
“We have an outline of all the pieces, all of the rocks had been described.
“Here’s an open tray with no seal on it and there are the Apollo 15 samples.”
All the samples from the Apollo collection function
One of the rocks from the missions
The lunar pattern lab has two side-by-side vaults, one for rocks nonetheless in straight-from-the-moon situation and a smaller vault for samples beforehand loaned out for examine.
Around 70 p.c of the unique haul is within the pristine pattern vault, which has two combos and takes two individuals to unlock.
The relaxation is used for analysis, show or stored within the safe location.
Of the six manned moon missions, Apollo 11 yielded the fewest samples, 48 kilos or 22 kilograms.
It was the primary touchdown by astronauts and NASA wished to minimise their on-the-moon time and threat.
What is left from this mission – about three quarters after scientific examine, public shows and goodwill items in 1969 – the remainder is stored largely vaulted at room temperature.