Material is a type of glass resulting from the melting of material on the lunar surface, caused by the impact of a meteor or volcanic eruption in the past
An article published by Chinese scientists in the journal Earth And Planetary Science Letters finally clarifies the mystery of the “gel-like substance” found in the soil on the far side of the moon by the Yutu-2 rover during its exploration of the bottom of a crater.
The discovery was made last July, when a photo taken by the robot just before being turned off to reload caught the attention of scientists: a shiny substance different in color, shape and texture from the surrounding materials appeared in the image.
A few days later, upon waking up, the robot examined the crater with its visible and near-infrared spectrometer (VNIS) responsible for analyzing the light reflected on the surfaces and determining its chemical composition.
The results of the analysis show that the “mysterious colored substance”, as it was called at the time of the discovery, is a type of glass resulting from the melting of material on the lunar surface due to the impact of a meteor or volcanic eruption in the past. The material has a similar composition of samples brought to Earth by astronauts from Apollo 15 and Apollo 17 missions.
The findings are based on images from the panoramic and obstacle detection cameras of the Yutu-2, as well as the VINS data. The lack of samples from the far side of the Moon, never explored during Apollo missions, prevents scientists from precisely determining the composition of the material.
China Moon Science & Space space exploration space race