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University of New Mexico to partner in moon rock studies

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ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Researchers at New Mexico's flagship university are among nine teams selected by NASA to study pieces of the moon that have been carefully stored and have remained untouched for decades.

The University of New Mexico says it will share in a total of $8 million that has been awarded to the teams.

Thomas Zurbuchen is with NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. He says studying the lunar samples will help a new generation of scientists advance the understanding of the moon and prepare for the next era of lunar exploration.

One of the samples that will be studied has never been exposed to Earth's atmosphere. It was collected and vacuum-sealed by Apollo 17 astronauts Harrison Schmitt and Gene Cernan in 1972 from a landslide deposit on the moon.