• Scientists have stumbled upon tranquillityite, a mineral considered unique to the moon, in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia. 
  • Researchers at The University of Western Australia's Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis (CMCA) identified the mineral. 
  • Tranquillityite, named after the Sea of Tranquillity, where the Apollo 11 moon-walkers landed in July 1969, was tentatively identified by Birger Rasmussen, professor from Curtin University, while studying a polished slice of earthly rock in a scanning electron microscope, according to a Western Australia statement. 
  • To confirm the identity of the Pilbara mineral, Muhling analysed its composition by collecting X-rays emitted when the sample was targeted by an electron beam in the electron microscope.
  • This showed that the terrestrial mineral was made up of the same elements as lunar tranquillityite. Electron diffraction showed that the two minerals have the same crystal structure. 
  • Previously, tranquillityite was thought to exist only in returned moon samples and lunar - and possibly Martian - meteorites. The researchers believe tranquilliltyite is the final 'lunar' mineral to be found on earth because it is rare, small and prone to change.