Back in August last year, China’s mission Yutu-2 rover informed the world about the presence of a weird gel-like substance in a crater situated on the far side of the moon. The discovery made the astronomers excited about the new fact as only a limited mission has been able to reach the far side of the moon.
Now, almost a year later, a team of researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences published a detailed report on the analysis of the substance in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
Well, as it has been revealed, the gel-like substance is a rock, specially an “impact melt breccia”. The breccia or the rock fragments have received a gel-like appearance after melting likely in the heat of a meteorite impact. These have then turned to dark green, glossy, glassy mass over years.
The sample of this gel-like substance is similar to the two samples retrieved by the Apollo 15 and 17 missions, Lunar Sample 15466 and Lunar Sample 70019, which were also classified as breccia.
The researchers explained in their paper, “Chang’e-4 rover discovered a dark greenish and glistening impact melt breccia in a crater during its traverse on the floor of Von Kármán crater within the South Pole Aitken (SPA) basin on the lunar far side.”
Yutu-2 used its panoramic camera, the Visible and Near-Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (VNIS) to capture pictures of the substance for detailed analysis. The rover was sent to the moon as a part of Chang’e 4 lunar lander mission.