Lunar rocks

Surface materials Olivine basalt collected by Apollo 15. The Apollo program brought back 381.7 kg (841.5 lb) of lunar surface material, most of which is stored at the Lunar Receiving Laboratory in Houston, Texas, and the unmanned Soviet Luna Program returned 0.3 kilograms of lunar material. These rocks have proved to be invaluable in deciphering the geologic evolution of the Moon. Lunar rocks are in large part made of the same common rock forming minerals as found on Earth, such as olivine, pyroxene, and plagioclase feldspar (anorthosite). Plagioclase feldspar is mostly found in the lunar crust, while pyroxene and olivine are typically seen in the lunar mantle.[15] The mineral ilmenite is highly abundant in some mare basalts, and a new mineral named armalcolite (named for Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins, the three members of the Apollo 11 crew) was first discovered in the lunar samples. The maria are composed predominantly of basalt, whereas the highland regions are iron-poor and composed primarily of anorthosite, a rock composed primarily of calcium-rich plagioclase feldspar. Another significant component of the crust are the igneous Mg-suite rocks, such as the troctolites, norites, and KREEP-basalts. These rocks are believed to be genetically related to the petrogenesis of KREEP. Composite rocks on the lunar surface often appear in t

e form of breccias. Of these, the subcategories are called fragmental, granulitic, and impact-melt breccias, depending on how they were formed. The mafic impact melt breccias, which are typified by the low-K Fra Mauro composition, have a higher proportion of iron and magnesium than typical upper crust anorthositic rocks, as well as higher abundances of KREEP. [edit]Composition of the maria The main characteristics of the basaltic rocks with respect to the rocks of the lunar highlands is that the basalts contain higher abundances of olivine and pyroxene, and less plagioclase. They are more rich in iron than terrestrial basalts, and also have lower viscosities. Some of them have high abundances of a ferro-titanic oxide called ilmenite. Since the first sampling of rocks contained a high content of ilmenite and other related minerals, they received the name of "high titanium" basalts. The Apollo 12 mission returned to Earth with basalts of lower titanium concentrations, and these were dubbed "low titanium" basalts. Subsequent missions, including the Soviet unmanned probes, returned with basalts with even lower concentrations, now called "very low titanium" basalts. The Clementine space probe returned data showing that the mare basalts possess a continuum in titanium concentrations, with the highest concentration rocks being the least abundant.