05 Jan '12, 8am
Rare Moon mineral found in relic Australia rocks
SYDNEY (AFP) - A mineral brought back to Earth by the first men on the Moon and long thought to be unique to the lunar surface has been found in Australian rocks more than one billion years old, scientists said on Thursday. Named after Apollo 11's 1969 landing site at the Sea of Tranquility, tranquillityite was one of three minerals first discovered in rocks from the Moon and the only one not to be found, in subsequent years, on Earth. Australian scientist Birger Rasmussen said tranquillityite had 'long been considered as the Moon's own mineral' until geologists discovered it, by chance, in rock from resources-rich Western Australia. 'In over 40 years, it hadn't been found in any terrestrial samples,' Mr Rasmussen, from Curtin University, told AFP.