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WNIJ and NIU STEAM are partnering to create “The Sound of Science,” a weekly series explaining important science, technology, engineering and math concepts using sound. The feature will air at 1:04 p.m. Fridays as a lead-in to Science Friday.The Sound of Science is made possible by Ken Spears Construction

The Sound of Science - 'Moon Rocks'

NIU STEAM
NIU STEAM

The Sound of Science - 'Moon Rocks'

Jeremy - This is Jeremy Benson from NIU STEAM.

Kristin - And this is Doctor Kristin Brynteson the director of NIU steam.

Jeremy - And this is The Sound of Science.

Kristin - So, recently we saw some moon rocks which was really exciting, but I was surprised 'cause they looked kind of normal. So Jeremy, what's the difference really or the similarities between lunar rocks and the rocks we have here on earth?

Jeremy - Well, some scientists think that the moon actually may have formed from a chunk of the earth that broke off as it was forming. So believe it or not, the rocks that we would find on the moon are virtually identical to the rocks that we'd find here on earth; in terms of the types of things that they're made of and how they form. What's special about the rocks that we've gotten to look at that are from the moon is that they represent three very specific types of rocks that the astronauts were looking for when they went to the moon. One of those is the Basalt, which is that the kind of volcanic rock the darker rock that we saw, which forms from volcanic activity and sort of fills in those craters after they've been formed. And that forms the Mare, or the seas the darker areas that we can see when we look up. Another type that we looked at is the in Anorthosite, which were those shinier white looking rocks that may have made up the original crust of the moon and we find more of that in the Highlands, and we can see how they would look a lot brighter when we're looking at them in reflected light. The third type that they brought back is something called Breccia, this is formed from impacts with meteorites or other objects that would crash into the planet and create intense heat and pressure and fuse together whatever materials were there. So, we get sort of a mixture of different types of materials all fused together into one sample that we can bring back and see what types of things were in that area.

Kristin - So how many samples came back from the Apollo missions?

Jeremy - Throughout all of the missions that we sent, over 800 pounds of materials were brought back, and those have been split up between different research facilities. And they actually have an educational loan program where groups like NIU can check out those moon rocks and have them available for the public viewing.

Kristin - You've been listening to The Sound of Science on WNIJ.

Jeremy - Where you learn something new everyday.

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