China’s Chang’e 5 lander returned to Earth on 16 December 2020 with the first sample brought back from the Moon since 1976. Within the roughly 1.7 kg sample, researchers found a glass bead with a pit about 9 µm across, formed by the impact of a piece of fast-traveling space dust known as a micrometeorite. On the rim of the tiny crater they found two titanium-based minerals—trigonal and triclinic Ti2O—that had not been found on the Moon before and do not occur naturally on Earth. Those are now the seventh and eighth new minerals discovered on the Moon to date, as described in a recent Nature Astronomy paper by Xiaojia Zeng, Yanxue Wu, and colleagues.

Above Earth, the friction generated by meteors moving through the atmosphere slows them down and can burn them up, depending on their incoming size and speed. Above the Moon and other airless bodies,...

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