With all the news that it is rapidly turning into a real crowd around Mars ’orbit, many of us are overlooking the beauties of what can be found on the Moon.
Chinese Lander Chang’e 4 and Rover Yutu 2 have entered sleep mode for an almost 14-day lunar night. During that time, radioisotope heaters kept them at appropriate temperatures when a harsh environment of minus 190 Celsius tried to take them down.
Waking up on February 6, Yutu 2 quickly came across an unusual rock jutting out of a nearby lunar landscape.
The rock that the Yutu 2 team agreed to use as a “milestone” instead of the famous “monolith” protruded from the ground, attracting the attention of China’s National Space Administration (CNSA).
The rock was spotted near the crater. The rock may be the result of an impact, CNSA photos suggest.
The image that interested CNSA shows an unusual rock standing alone on a smooth background.
The next day, they analyzed the rock in more detail, which may indicate traces of its origin and formation.
The shard-like shape suggests that the rock is young in terms of geological parameters, given that it is not worn and rounded, like the rounded rocks you can find on the beach.
Dan Moriarty, a NASA associate postdoctoral fellow at the Goddard Space Flight Center, said in an interview with Space.com:
“It seems to have the shape of debris and protruding from the ground. It’s definitely unusual […] Repeated shocks, thermal cycle stresses, and other forms of weather on the lunar surface would all tend to break rocks into more or less ‘spherical’ shapes, if given enough time. “
He believes the rock was probably ejected as a result of the impact, probably from a nearby crater.
The team uses a visible and near-infrared imaging rover spectrometer for further lunar rock analysis. The device can detect light scattered from a rock to determine its chemical structure.
In the past, the tool was used to analyze gel-like matter discovered on the Moon’s surface in 2019. The substance appeared to be similar to samples obtained by the 1972 Apollo 17 mission.
Their official description reads as follows: “dark, broken fragments of minerals cemented together and black, shiny glass.”
Additional analysis suggests that the rock probably fused together during the impact.
Based in Detroit, Tonia Nissen has been writing for Optic Flux since 2017 and is currently our editor-in-chief. An experienced freelance health writer, Tonia earned an English degree at the University of Detroit and then spent more than 7 years working in a variety of markets as a television reporter, producer and news cameraman. Tonia is particularly interested in scientific innovation, climate technology and the marine environment.