China’s lunar rover is helping to unravel a Moon mystery

  
Via:  bob-nelson  •  one week ago  •  14 comments

China’s lunar rover is helping to unravel a Moon mystery
The Chinese space program started 2019 with a major milestone when the Chang’e 4 lunar lander successfully touched down on the far side of the Moon. It was the first time any country had completed such a feat, the landing itself was just the first of many objectives China had for the mission.

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In the days that followed, the lander deployed a rover, snapped photos, and even grew some plants. Its rover had some work of its own to do as well, and a new research paper published in Nature reveals that some of the readings it gathered from lunar surface samples were rather surprising for scientists.

Today, the Moon is relatively quiet and cool, but researchers don’t believe this was always the case. It’s thought that the young Moon was once largely covered in superheated liquid rock that flowed across the surface before eventually cooling.

While the rock was still hot, scientists assume that denser minerals would have naturally settled deep beneath the surface. Once the oceans of magma fully cooled, heavy minerals like pyroxene and olivine would have already been buried. That thinking was seemingly challenged when China’s Yutu-2 rover gathered samples that clearly contained both olivine and pyroxene, but researchers have a very good explanation for why they found those specific minerals on the surface.

Chang’e 4 landed in a spot on the Moon known as the Von Kármán crater, in an area known as the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin. The basin is what is left of a massive crater that formed long ago, and researchers believe that the presence of heavy minerals in the surface samples gathered by the rover is evidence that a large impact may have penetrated deep enough to eject a large amount of rock and dust from the Moon’s mantle, covering the area with material that would otherwise have remained buried.

“Geological context suggests that these materials were excavated from below the SPA floor by the nearby 72-km-diameter Finsen impact crater event, and transported to the landing site,” the researchers write. “Continued exploration by Yutu-2 will target these materials on the floor of the Von Kármán crater to understand their geologic context, origin, and abundance, and to assess the possibility of sample-return scenarios.”

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Bob Nelson
1  seeder  Bob Nelson    one week ago

Space exploration is cool!

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Bob Nelson @1    one week ago

When I was a kid, reading pulp magazine science fiction stories, it was all a fantastic dream......and now......

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
1.1.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1    one week ago

... it's real!

  tenor.gif

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
1.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Bob Nelson @1    one week ago

Things that were once thought to be science fiction have now become science fact.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
1.2.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @1.2    one week ago

Yes. So cool...

 
 
 
bccrane
2  bccrane    one week ago

I guess there is another mystery on the moon, if that is a picture of the rover from the Chinese lander, where are the rover's tracks?

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  bccrane @2    one week ago

And... ... ... who took the picture?

    jrSmiley_26_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Split Personality
2.1.1  Split Personality  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1    one week ago

The moon people?

384

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1.2  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Split Personality @2.1.1    one week ago

Well, of course!

I should have known...

 
 
 
bccrane
2.1.3  bccrane  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1    one week ago

From your response, I don't know exactly what your getting at or how to take it.  The picture was taken from the lander after the rover was sent on its way, but there are no tracks between the lander and the rover, there are no tracks beyond the rover (if the picture was taken on its way back), and there are no tracks between the wheels.  jrSmiley_26_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
2.1.4  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  bccrane @2.1.3    one week ago

I was gently evoking the "no one ever went to the moon" conspiracy.

If you want a serious answer, I doubt that the picture is real. It is, as tbey say, "an artist's reconstruction".

 
 
 
Greg Jones
3  Greg Jones    one week ago

Question?

Since the Moon is tidally locked to the Earth, and  always keeps the same side facing the Earth,

why does the Sun shine on the other (dark) side of the Moon.

 
 
 
katrix
3.1  katrix  replied to  Greg Jones @3    one week ago

The "dark" side of the moon should really be referred to as the "far" side.  It was called the dark side just because we could never see it until we went to space.

Both sides of the moon get both sunlight and darkness during its orbit. 

 
 
 
Split Personality
3.2  Split Personality  replied to  Greg Jones @3    one week ago
why does the Sun shine on the other (dark) side of the Moon

Think about it.

512

 
 
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