Japanese researchers confirm data on mineral from lunar rock

Japanese researchers, analyzing data collected by a spacecraft that landed on the moon in January, have confirmed the existence of olivine, a key mineral that could help answer questions about the origin of the moon.

The Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, or SLIM, became the first Japanese lander to successfully touch down on the lunar surface.

A team comprising researchers from Ritsumeikan University and the University of Aizu, among others, unveiled their findings on Monday at an academic meeting held in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo.

The researchers analyzed images of rocks on the moon's surface captured by the lander's camera.

They say they acquired data that shows the existence of a mineral called olivine, which was possibly in the depths of the moon. They say they will study the chemical composition of the mineral into details.

Comparing the olivine from the moon and the Earth may back up the widely accepted theory that the moon formed out of debris of a collision between the Earth and another celestial body.

University of Aizu Professor Ohtake Makiko says they were able to collect data that they had long waited for. She added that the finding has provided extremely hopeful results.

She expressed their resolve to shed more light into the origin of the moon through more analyses.