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In a report published in Nature Geoscience, researchers claimed that hydrogen ejected from the Sun’s atmosphere is carried in solar winds and implanted in the lunar soil, where it reacts with oxygen already present on the Moon’s surface.
Olivine basalt collected by Apollo 15.The Apollo program brought back 381.7 kg (841.5 lb) of lunar surface material, most of which is stored at the Lunar Receiving Laboratory in Houston, Texas, and the unmanned Soviet Luna Program returned 0.3 kilograms of lunar material. These rocks have proved to be invaluable in deciphering the geologic evolution of the Moon. Lunar rocks are in large part made of the same common rock forming minerals as found on Earth, such as olivine, pyroxene, and plagioclase feldspar (anorthosite). Plagioclase feldspar is mostly found in the lunar crust, while pyroxene and olivine are typically seen in the lunar mantle. The mineral ilmenite is highly abundant in some mare basalts, and a new mineral named armalcolite (named for Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins, the three members of the Apollo 11 crew) was first discovered in the lunar samples.
The maria are composed predominantly of basalt, whereas the highland regions are iron-poor and composed primarily of anorthosite, a rock composed primarily of calcium-rich plagioclase feldspar. Another significant component of the crust are the igneous Mg-suite rocks, such as the troctolites, norites, and KREEP-basalts. These rocks are believed to be genetically related to the petrogenesis of KREEP.
Composite rocks on the lunar surface often appear in the form of breccias. Of these, the subcategories are called fragmental, granulitic, and impact-melt breccias, depending on how they were formed. The mafic impact melt breccias, which are typified by the low-K Fra Mauro composition, have a higher proportion of iron and magnesium than typical upper crust anorthositic rocks, as well as higher abundances of KREEP.
Physical characteristicsSince they are primarily composed of plagioclase feldspar, most of Proterozoic anorthosites appear, in outcrop, to be grey or bluish. Individual plagioclase crystals may be black, white, blue, or grey, and may exhibit an iridescence known as labradorescence on fresh surfaces. The feldspar variety labradorite is commonly present in anorthosites. Mineralogically, labradorite is a compositional term for any calcium-rich plagioclase feldspar containing between 50–70 molecular percent anorthite (An 50–70), regardless of whether it shows labradorescence. The mafic mineral in Proterozoic anorthosite may be clinopyroxene, orthopyroxene, olivine, or, more rarely, amphibole. Oxides, such as magnetite or ilmenite, are also common.