By Rosie Perper | INSIDER
(This article was first published last Thursday, September 5, 2019)
Xinhua/CNSA via Getty Images
- China’s Chang’e 4 lunar rover has discovered a strange “gel-like” material with an “unusual color” on the moon’s uncharted far side.
- According to Space.com, the mission’s rover, Yutu 2, found the unidentified substance.
- Scientists made the discovery when they were reviewing photos taken on the rover’s camera and noticed a strange material inside a crater that showed “color and luster” unlike the surrounding terrain.
- Researchers think the substance could be “melt glass” formed from meteorites crashing into the lunar surface.
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China’s Chang’e 4 lunar rover has discovered an unidentified “gel-like” substance on the moon’s far side.
The lunar probe, launched in early December, has taken part in a historic exploration of the far side of the moon, sometimes incorrectly called the “dark side.”
Chang’e 4 touched down on January 3, becoming the first spacecraft to soft-land on the moon’s uncharted area. Only two other countries — the US and Russia — have successfully soft-landed on the moon.
Citing the Chinese government-sanction publication Our Space, Space.com reported that the mission’s rover, Yutu 2, discovered the strange substance during an expedition that began on July 25.
Scientists leading the mission decided to pause the rover to investigate the “gel-like” material with an “unusual color,” Space.com said.
They noticed the gel while reviewing photos from the rover’s camera, which identified a small crater appearing to contain what Space.com said was a “material with a color and luster” unlike the surrounding terrain.
Researchers have suggested that the substance could be “melt glass,” formed from meteorites crashing into the lunar surface, according to Space.com.
The China National Space Administration has not released photos of the mysterious gel.
The lunar probe “woke up” in late August from a dormant state because of extremely cold night weather and resumed exploration. According to Space.com, Yutu 2 is due to continue westward and power down once more on Thursday.