May 28, 2019

Fresh moon rocks ready for study

Apollo 15 astronauts on the moon. Photo: NASA

A team of scientists was awarded a cache of previously unopened Apollo-era Moon rock samples this year to turn back the clock and see exactly what kinds of materials were abundant on the Moon in its early history.

Why it matters: Researchers have long been interested in figuring out exactly what’s been going on in the interior of our Moon, and this new experiment — which is happening about 50 years after the lunar rock sample was collected — could help create a more complete picture of the history of our natural satellite.

Details: The team will bombard samples of volcanic lunar glass collected during the Apollo 15 mission with photons using the Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source.

  • By working backwards and figuring out what minerals are found within the glass, the research team should be able to get a snapshot of what was happening on the Moon millions of years ago.
  • “This is all about how planets evolved really,” Darby Dyer, principal investigator for the experiment, tells Axios.

The backdrop: NASA saved some samples of moon rocks from the Apollo program in the hopes that scientists would be able to gain new insights with technology that was yet to be developed.

  • Eight other teams will also use untouched moon rock samples for experiments selected by NASA.
  • Dyer expects the first results from the experiments to come in March.

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and South Korea ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

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Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  2. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps
  3. U.S. military officially stops offensive operations in Afghanistan
  4. America's future looks a lot like Nevada
  5. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins