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Chinese, French researchers complete lunar radon-gas detection mission
SOURCE: Xinhua     UPDATED: 2024-07-10

A collaborative team of Chinese and French researchers has successfully completed a mission to measure the distribution of radon gas and polonium on the moon, employing the French payload aboard China's Chang'e-6 lunar probe for the purpose, according to the Institute of Geology and Geophysics (IGG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The French payload, named Detection of Outgassing RadoN (DORN), is capable of measuring both radon gas and its decay products on the lunar surface, as well as charged particles in the space environment.

Its scientific goals include studying the origin and dynamics of the lunar atmosphere, the thermal and physical properties of lunar soil, and the movement of lunar surface dust.

It was first activated on May 6 during the lunar-orbit cruise period, some 320,000 kilometers from Earth, and worked for about 10 hours to measure the background noise of the space environment and natural pollution on the lunar surface.

On May 17, following the historic solar storms that occurred between May 10 and 11, the instrument was powered on again. It performed measurements in lunar orbit for a total of 32 hours.

On June 2, shortly after the Chang'e-6 lunar probe landed at the designated landing area in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon, the radon-gas detector began its measurements of the lunar surface. On June 4, when the ascender of Chang'e-6 took off from the moon with samples, it completed its detection mission and became a "permanent resident" on the far side of the moon.

China's Chang'e-6 spacecraft was launched into orbit on May 3, carrying four international payloads from the European Space Agency, France, Italy and Pakistan.