ArticlesTrace Elements

Neutron Activation Analysis of Milligram Quantifies of Lunar Rocks and Soils

Science  30 Jan 1970:
Vol. 167, Issue 3918, pp. 507-509
DOI: 10.1126/science.167.3918.507


A neuttron activation scheme for determining 25 elements in lunar samples weighing 20 milligrams is described and applied to a suite of Apollo 11 lunar materials. Concentrations of titanium, chromium, scandium, tantalum, hafnium, and rare earths are higher than in avercage basalt, whereas cobalt, nickel, and copper are lower. Chemical variations show groupings of elements possibly associated with the major phases, pyroxene, plagioclase, and ilmenite. The high concentration of "refractory oxides" and low volatile content implies that the raw material for the Apollo 11 samples was condensed from the primitive solar nebula at high temperatures.