US space agency NASA has selected nine teams to study untouched samples collected from the Moon by the Apollo missions in the 1970s and carefully stored for nearly 50 years.
NASA says in a statement that a total of $8 million (roughly Rs. 55.5 crores) has been awarded to the teams.
Thomas Zurbuchen an Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, DC has said that by studying the precious lunar samples for the first time, a new generation of scientists will help advance their understanding of their lunar neighbour and prepare for the next era of exploration of the Moon and beyond.
Reports of the six of the nine teams will look at one of the three remaining lunar samples, from Apollo missions 15, 16, and 17, which have never been exposed to Earth’s atmosphere also stating that the samples these teams will study were brought to Earth vacuum-sealed from the Moon by Apollo 17 astronauts Harrison Schmitt and Gene Cernan in 1972.
It also explained that the nine teams selected are from NASA Ames Research Center/Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, NASA Ames, NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Centre, NASA Goddard, University of Arizona, University of California Berkeley, US Naval Research Laboratory, University of New Mexico and the Mount Holyoke College/Planetary Science Institute.