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Fifty years ago, Apollo astronauts scooped up mysterious Moon matter and sealed it in a 14-inch tube.
Now, NASA scientists are finally preparing to crack it open for the first time since 1972.
Astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison 'Jack' Schmitt hammered two tubes into the surface of the Moon and brought both of them back to Earth.
While one of them was opened straight away, the other was kept tightly sealed and stored for safekeeping ever since.
The hope was that one day, scientists would be able to use future technologies to get a better understanding of what was in them—and it seems that day has finally come.
"The agency knew science and technology would evolve and allow scientists to study the material in new ways to address new questions in the future," says NASA's Lori Glaze, director of the Planetary Science Division.
These questions will revolve around at the substances hidden in the soil samples, which could contain numerous unknown molecules, gases, and extraterrestrial matter.
What NASA finds will prove vital in the future Artemis missions to the Moon's South Pole, which will be the first manned Moon landings since Cernan and Schmitt's mission.
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To open the sample, the European Space Agency (ESA) has developed a special 'Apollo can opener' which will pop the tube, allowing space gases to escape.
The hope is that NASA will be able to better understand not just what is on the Moon, but how it experiences things like landslides. It might even tell us more about the origins of the Solar System.
In other news, NASA has finally said it will consider researching sex in space in a big win for horny astronauts.
The space agency has come under increased pressure to encourage a '62-mile high club' and embrace space sex research to ensure that humans can safely reproduce in outer space.
Academics argue it will be vital to ensuring a long-term human presence on other celestial bodies like Mars and the Moon, as the likes of Elon Musk hope.
- Spaced Out
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