What did they find, and why aren’t they telling us. Can mankind not handle the truth?
These are now the bigger questions, after China’s Yutu-2 moon rover spotted a strange, unusually colored “gel like” substance inside a crater on the lunar surface a few weeks ago, The Indian Express reported.
The scientists at China National Space Administration (CNSA) were initially puzzled. There was speculation that the substance was created due to a meteor impact, which perhaps led to melted glass being left behind, or … what?
After this exciting discovery, the Yutu-2 rover was instructed to examine the strange substance, which it promptly did. Unfortunately, a proper analysis remained difficult to achieve because the 2-meter-wide crater was covered in shadow — too difficult for Yutu-2 to navigate.
Undeterred, and after much discussion, CNSA researchers decided to revisit the crater site.
On the second instance, and with the help of obstacle-avoidance cameras, Yutu-2 carefully approached the crater and then targeted the unusually colored material and its surroundings, Space.com reported.
Scientists held their breath as the rover examined both areas with its Visible and Near-Infrared Spectrometer (VNIS), which detects light that is scattered or reflected off materials to reveal their makeup.
The risky maneuver appeared to have been a success, but scientists at the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program have yet to reveal exactly what was found, causing further speculation.
What exactly was this gel-like substance? And why is it on the far side of the Moon?
The Yutu-2 rover touched down on the Moon’s surface in January and will continue its exploration for the next two weeks.
Yutu-2’s discovery isn’t scientists’ first lunar surprise, Space.com reported.
Apollo 17 astronaut and geologist Harrison Schmitt discovered orange-colored soil near the mission’s Taurus-Littrow landing site in 1972, prompting excitement from both Schmitt and his moonwalk colleague, Gene Cernan.
Lunar geologists eventually concluded that the orange soil was created during an explosive volcanic eruption 3.64 billion years ago.