BEIJING: China’s Chang’e-5 lunar lander has found evidence of hydroxyl (OH) on the Moon. Hydroxyl is a close chemical cousin of water, H2O. While several other orbital missions have detected OH on the Moon previously, Chang’e-5 marks the first time it has been detected by a spacecraft sitting on the lunar surface.
Chang’e-5 is most famous for its sample return mission, which brought a sample of lunar regolith back to Earth in December of 2020.
However, for the detection of hydroxyl, the Chang’e-5 lander used instruments on board to look at the area around the landing site. Scientists were able to use data from a panoramic camera, lunar mineralogical spectrometer (LMS) and lunar penetrating radar to look for evidence of water molecules