During its last lunar day of exploration back in 2019, China‘s Moon probe, Yutu-2, spotted a weird substance resembling a gel in the middle of a crater. Chinese lunar scientists were puzzled, but new suggestions were made, including the material being created by a meteor impact, which caused melt glass to be left behind.
Soon after the finding, China put Yutu-2 to work in order to solve the mystery of the weird Moon substance. Unfortunately, until now, a complex understanding of the peculiar substance remained elusive as the two-meter wide crater was covered in shadow.
However, a team of scientists led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences has now published an investigation of the substance in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. The discovery on the Moon is rock, more precisely ‘impact melt breccia.’
This type of structure is a rock composed of fragments of rocks or minerals cemented together, similar to a geologic version of one of the Jell-O salads packed with fruit bits. If you melt it down, it can become similar to glass.
The Mystery Was Solved
Yutu-2, the part of China’s Chang’e 4 lunar lander expedition programmed to examine the mysterious far side of the Moon, took a closer look at the puzzling discovery in late 2019, as we mentioned above. The maneuver provided researchers with lots of data to work with in order to reach a conclusion regarding the melted rock.
The scientists described the substance as ‘dark greenish and glistening,’ and measured it approximately 20 inches (52 cm) wide.
“It was formed by impact-generated welding, cementing and agglutinating of lunar regolith and breccia,” the team reported.
A meteorite impact is the main presumption behind the discovery.
“Glasses in the lunar regolith are usually sourced from impact melts or from volcanic eruptions,” the study said.