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Yutu-2 rover discovers glass globes on the far side of the moon

The two glass globes spotted by the Yutu-2 rover.

The two glass balls spotted by Yutu-2 rover.
picture: Zhiyong Ziao et al., 2022 / Science Bulletin

A pair of clear glass globes, each over half an inch thick, have been spotted in an impact crater near the moon. South Pole. TIt is the first of its kind to be discovered on the moon.

new Research The Science Bulletin describes “the first detection of macroscopic and transparent glass spheres on the Moon.” It is possible that the beads were formed by the heat generated by a violent effect Or perhaps from early volcanic activity. The result is importantas the glass spheres “record important information about mantle formation and the history of lunar volcanism and impact craters,” according to the research.Led by Zhiyong Xiao, aAssociate Professor at the Planetary and Astrobiological Environment Research Laboratory of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China.

“Transparent glass spheres,” say scientists Describing them, they were spotted by the eight-wheeled Yutu-2 rover. the wandereras part of China The Chang’e 4 mission is currently investigating the sequencing (the lunar equivalent of “geologist”) and chemical differences between the near and far sides of the Moon. The small rover landed at a width of 115 miles (186-kilometer) Von Kármán crater on January 3, 2019. This large crater is located inside the much larger crater Aitken Basin– The largest impact basin of the moon – near the south pole of the moon.

that Yutu-2 Stumble upon the glass is hardly special, with objects scattered across most of the moon’s surface. What makes these special items unique is their large size and translucent nature. Lunar glass tends to be small, measuring less than 1 mm (0.04 in), but the Apollo astronauts managed to discover some large beads like these. The two balls in the von Karmann nozzle are between 0.5 and 1 inch (1.5 cm-2.5 cm), hence its description as “macroscopic” in size.

But while the Apollo samples were dark and faint, the newly discovered beads are “translucent or semi-transparent and exhibit a vitreous luster,” the researchers wrote. Four other similar things have been spotted by Yutu-2 panoramic camera, but the resolution of the image was not clear enough for scientists to be able to identify them as glass balls.

Indicates the shape and location of these balls They are effect glasses, not Objects delivered from other planetary bodies or products volcanic activity. Glass spheres are formed from intense heat from large shocks, as the silicates liquefied and take on a spherical shape when transmitted through the air. Liquid balls are tossed into the sky, and they cool quicklyback to the surface like glass.

Volcanic eruptions can do the same thing, but volcanoes haven’t been active on the Moon for some time. What’s more, the properties of these beads aren’t really consistent with volcanic activity, say the scientists, arguing that they are glass collisions caused by “anorthosic melt.” Lunar anorthosite is a type of igneous rock common in the lunar highlands near the South Pole. A limitation of the paper is that the exact composition of the beads cannot be determined.

Scientists say that the glass beads formed recently or were only recently exposed. The top of the lunar regolith is covered in less than 100,000 years, “indicating that the globules may be very small,” according to the paper. A recent collision event likely caused the beads to move, depositing them on the surface.

Similar objects are found on Earth, and they are named taktet. Scientists suspect that this macroscopic Things are a common feature of the moon and that the other balls “shall be abundant across the lunar heights.”

you too-2 She made headlines in December 2021 when she spotted a strange shape on the lunar horizon. This object, which was called the “mysterious hut”, turned out to be irregular shaped rocks.

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