China Chang’e 4 The spacecraft is back in action for the 27th lunar day on the far side of the moon, but it was the discoveries from the lunar day prior to the mission that piqued scientists’ interest.
The Chang’e 4 and Yutu 2 landing craft Activities resumed on February 6 after hibernation during the biting cold of the moon night, according to Chinese state-run media. Xinhua. But a lunar day earlier, the rover stumbled upon a strange rock sample that the Yutu 2 engine team had begun referring to as a “teacher.”
According to Yutu 2’s diary Published By our space, The Chinese-language science outreach channel of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), the mission scientists agreed with the leadership team that the tall rocks were worthy of close scrutiny.
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Next, the team planned to do a close approach and analyze the rock using Yutu 2’s Visible and Near-infrared Imaging Spectrometer (VNIS), which detects light scattered or reflected off the materials to reveal their composition.
VNIS was used to investigate a number of rock and regolith samples along the Yutu 2 path through the Von Kármán crater. These include the unusual Melt the glass Samples and potentially materials from Moon mantle.
Although it does not seem particularly exciting to the untrained eye, the discovery sparked interest among lunar scientists. Dan Moriarty, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, told Space.com, “It looks like it’s shell-shaped and is sticking out of the Earth. That’s definitely unusual.”
“Repetitive impacts, stresses from thermal cycling, and other forms of weathering on the surface of the moon will all tend to break rocks into more or less spherical shapes, given adequate time,” Moriarty said. “Think of how rocky beaches are eroded with stones to smooth the rounded shapes over time by repeatedly scrambling in the waves.”
Moriarty said both the crust-like shape and the pronounced “rim” running near the edge of the rock seem to indicate that this rock is geologically young, and was laid down relatively recently.
“I would definitely guess originally as a shock ejected from a nearby crater. It is possible that a rock with this aspect ratio has been produced through a process known as fragmentation, in which intact rock fragments are detonated from the near surface without experience,” Moriarty said. The shock to the immediate target, “he said, adding that this initial assessment is only a guess.
Follow-up disclosures and data from VNIS will provide much deeper insight. Cliff Neal, a leading lunar expert at the University of Notre Dame, agrees that based on the images, the samples are impact projectiles and not exposed rocks. “The question I am asking is whether it is locally derived? We hope that the spectral data will allow the assessment of the origin to be local or foreign, that is, from outside this region,” he said.
The Yutu 2 and Chang’e 4 have already exceeded their design life of 90 Earth days and 1 year, respectively. The spacecraft has covered a total of 2,060 feet (628 meters) since its launch from the probe on January 3, 2019.
In November last year, China launched Chang’e 5 Moon sample return mission. The mission yielded 3.81 lbs. (1.73 kg) fresh moon samples Hand it over to Earth Just three weeks later. CNSA last month Published Procedures for requesting samples for scientific analysis.
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