The lunar exploration program of China has recently published pictures that offer us a glimpse of the strange material found on the far side of the moon.
Yutu-2, the Chang’e-4 mission’s lunar rover, caught notice last month after his drive team spotted something extraordinary while roving close to a tiny crater. Our Space, which announced the results on Aug 17th, used terms that can be translated as “gel-like”, as per the Chinese-language science outreach publication. This concept triggered widespread interest and speculation among lunar researchers.
Scientists have now seized a look at that curious material, thanks to a post released over the weekend by Our Space via its WeChat social media account. Along with new images of the stuff on the moon, the post details how the Yutu-2 team carefully approached the crater to analyze the specimen, despite risks.
Last month, the team behind the lunar rover claimed it had found a “colored mysterious substance” as described in the rover’s diary, which claimed that the material’s shape and the color are significantly different from the surrounding lunar soil.”
The pictures were taken by the obstacle-avoidance camera of the rover, which ensures that nothing is bumped into by the rover. The red and green shapes in the above picture are the most presumable artifacts of the accounts of the rover’s Visible and Near-Infrared Spectrometer.
So what exactly is it? Give it a look…
The best guess we have so far is that it’s just a piece of lunar glass that was formed during a meteor impact.
The Chinese researchers will likely release more images and spectrometer readings of the mysterious substance in the future.
It will have to at the very least wait for the Sun to rise again to continue its investigation. And that’s roughly a week from now.