Identification of Moon Rock Samples
Chemically and structurally, the lunar rocks will match the same
sorts of materials (basalts, etc) found on Earth. However, there are some
differences between Earth rocks and moon
rocks which might give evidence about a given sample's origin. This would
be important to prove a moon rock actually came from the Moon through the
There are a few differences we can use to identify real moon rocks:
- Moon rocks are anhydrous; no entrained water at all. And no water
involved in their formation.
- There's no weathering. Moon dust has lots of minuscule jagged
structures, while rock dust on Earth has these spires worn off. (Those jaggies
are a problem for our lunar surface equipment, for both mechanical design and
health reasons. They're adhesive and abrasive, and inhaling moon dust can
cause a hay fever reaction in the crew.)
- The crystalline structures formed in a different gravity field, and
at different temperatures and pressures. I don't know if that is
detectable by examining the rocks and dust under a microscope, or whatever.
- The specific chemical composition might vary from sample to sample, and
could be carefully documented before we sell a sample to anyone.
To rely on data about the specific chemical composition of rocks, we'll
have to be careful to note exactly which sample we're documenting. Because of
the distribution of ejecta from meteorite impacts, you can take a few steps on
the moon and tour a billion years of history. The large rocks might come from
a crater to the northwest, while the light rays of dust could have come from
thousands of miles in the opposite direction.
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