China’s Chang’e-4 mission found a gel-like substance with unusual color while exploring the far side of the moon. It made the discovery during lunar day 8, which started on July 25. ( John Gibson | Pixabay )
China’s Chang’e-4 mission on the far side of the moon has made a strange discovery. The smaller lunar rover Yutu-2 found a gel-like substance with an unusual color.
Gel-Like Substance With Unusual Color
Yutu-2 made the unusual find during lunar day 8, which started on July 25. A lunar day is equal to 14 days on Earth.
Mission team members who were checking images as seen by the rover’s main camera found a small crater with what appears to be a material with color and luster different from the surrounding surface.
The find prompted mission scientists to cancel other exploration plans for the rover and focus on studying the strange material.
Yutu-2 approached the crater with the strange substance and examined the area with its Visible and Near-Infrared Spectrometer (VNIS), an instrument used to detect scattered light or light reflected off of materials to reveal their makeup.
The scientists have not yet provided details on the nature of the substance except that it is gel-like and has an unusual color.
Possibly A Melt Glass Created When Meteorites Strike The Moon
Scientists who are not part of the mission, however, think that the substance could be a melt glass created from meteorites that strike the moon.
China is the first country to land a rover on the far side of the moon and the area it was set to explore was the crash site of a big asteroid that hit the lunar surface. One of the tasks of the mission is to sample and study the composition of minerals on the moon’s surface.
“Where they’ve landed was once the site where a big asteroid crashed into the moon, buried itself deep inside and melted all that part of the moon, and presumably brought interior material up near the surface,” Auckland Astronomical Society president Grant Christie said in January after the Chinese probe had landed on the so-called dark side of the moon.
The mission was launched in December last year and made its first soft landing on the Von Karman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on Jan. 3.
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