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Lunar samples draw great interests across disciplines




Lunar samples draw great interests across disciplines

2024-06-25 17:21 Last Updated At:19:57

⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠The return of China's Chang'e-6 lunar probe earlier Tuesday with fresh samples taken from the far side of the moon has rekinded interests from scientists engaged in research in multiple disciplines, as many of their peers have conducted research using samples taken back from the near side of the moon by the previous lunar probe -- the Chang'e-5.

The Chang'e 6 probe landed at a site in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region earlier Tuesday with a precious load of rock and soil samples from the little-explored far side of the moon in a global first.

Chinese scientists anticipate the returned samples will include 2.5 million-year-old volcanic rock and other material that scientists hope will answer questions about geographic differences on the moon's two sides.

The near side of the moon is what is seen from the Earth, and the far side faces outer space. The far side is also known to have mountains and impact craters, contrasting with the relatively flat expanses visible on the near side.

Less than four years ago, the Chang’e 5 mission brought back home 1.731 kilograms of lunar samples from the moon's near side, a better known part of the earth's satellite.

Those samples rocked the science world nonetheless.

From the Chang'e 5 samples, there emerged the youngest lunar basalt samples ever obtained by humans, a new lunar mineral named the Chang'e site, deeper insights into the moon's evolution, and significant traces of water found particularly in the moon's mid-to-high and mid-to-low altitudes, as indicated by scientists.

"As there have been so many new discoveries, there is a sharp surge in published papers. Directly judged by the relevant data, there is just a rekindled enthusiasm for the moon," said He Huaiyu, researcher with the Institute of Geology and Geophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The Chang'e 5's lunar samples have been accessible for research and application by scientists both domestically and internationally, spanning various disciplines.

"Most of the applicants for lunar samples are in the field of earth science, including geochemistry, petrology, and geophysics. But there are also physicists, for example, who embark on research of radioactive nuclides, mechanical property. There are applicants hoping to conduct research on cell toxicity, biological culture, plant culture using the samples," said the researcher.

As of earlier this month, the Chang'e-5 lunar soil samples had been distributed to 114 scientific research teams, totaling 258 packs of samples that together weigh 77.7 grams.

Lunar samples draw great interests across disciplines

Lunar samples draw great interests across disciplines

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Cargo throughput surges as China's ports streamline customs clearance

2024-07-20 07:14 Last Updated At:08:27

China's border ports have been implementing a range of cargo facilitation policies, leading to a surge in cargo throughput, with a nearly 57 percent year-on-year increase in the inspection of transportation vehicles in the first half of 2024.

According to the data recently released by the National Immigration Administration, China's ports inspected about 15.42 million vehicle, vessel, and train trips in the first six months of this year, a 56.9 percent jump from the same period last year.

The border ports have rolled out a series of measures to streamline customs clearance for cargo. At major land ports, fast lanes have been set up for the rapid release of critical supplies. At major seaports, online declaration has been enabled for border inspection boarding. In international shipping, arriving vessels can have much faster departures thanks to the efficient inspections.

The combined sea-rail transport model, utilizing maritime routes and the China-Europe freight train service, has made the port of Lianyungang in east China's Jiangsu Province one of the most convenient and economical gateways to the sea. It handles more than 80 percent of Kazakhstan's transit cargo to China.

At the port, containers carrying with auto parts, home appliances, and other products are offloaded, hoisted onto trucks, and then loaded onto China-Europe freight trains bound for destinations like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

"From unloading to boarding the freight train, the entire process can now be completed in as little as eight minutes. These containers are expected to reach the border ports within six days, greatly reducing transportation time and cost," said a logistics company employee.

The Youyi Pass in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, also known as Friendship Pass, on the China-Vietnam border is an important cross-national trade channel. To enhance the clearance efficiency of imported fruits, the port has established "durian-only" channels and green channels for agricultural products, as well as an intelligent inspection assistance system. A Chinese cargo truck can now clear customs in just 15 seconds.

As the country's largest land port for fruit imports and exports, the Youyi Pass saw fruit imports worth 23.92 billion yuan (about 3.3 billion U.S. dollars) in 2023, a 262.9-percent surge year on year.

Pattama Narmwong, chairman of the Thai Mangosteen Association, noted that the greatly improved clearance efficiency has considerably cut down on transportation time and costs, supporting the burgeoning development of fruit trade between China and Southeast Asian nations.

Cargo throughput surges as China's ports streamline customs clearance

Cargo throughput surges as China's ports streamline customs clearance

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