A Chinese Lunar Rover, Yutu-2, has found a gel-like material on the surface of the moon.
Yutu-2, the lunar rover for China's Chang'e-4 mission, grabbed attention last month after its drive team spotted something unusual while roving close to a small crater.
One of the images taken by the rover shows 7-foot wide crater. Another image taken by an obstacle-avoidance camera on the rover shows a green, rectangular area with a red circle within, suggested to be the mysterious material.
The image has been taken by a Visible and Near-Infrared Spectrometer (VNIS) instrument that reveals the chemical makeup of a material by detecting the light scattered and reflected off of it. The difference in the colour of this object suggests its different composition, as compared to the plentiful lunar soil around it.
Since this camera has a small field of view, scientists had to take two images, just to get a comparatively clear image. The first image was taken in July but was not useful due to shadows.
What could it be?
A team of lunar scientists from the University of Notre Dame says that the material resembles a sample of glass found during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. While talking to Space.co, the scientists also mentioned that it is similar to a material (titled Sample 70019) collected by astronaut Harrison Schmitt from a fresh crater 10 feet (3 meters) in diameter.
The sample was made up of dark broken fragments of minerals cemented together, to form a mass that looked like a black and shiny glass.
How can it be?
The scientists expect that these glassy, igneous rocks and crystalline structures might have been formed because of high-speed impacts on the lunar surface. Due to these impacts, rocks melt and are redistributed across the craters on the moon.
Scientists are waiting for the information to be released from the high-resolution image taken by the lunar robot. The Yutu-2 was launched by China on December 7 2018 under the Chang'e 4 mission. It entered the lunar orbit on December 12 and landed on the moon's surface on January 3 2019.