December 26, 2015

"After two years on the moon, a Chinese lunar rover named 'Yutu,' has uncovered a new type of moon rock on a long-dead lava flow."

Smithsonian According to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, the unique composition of the recently discovered rocks is revealing new insights into the moon’s origins. By Danny Lewis

'The rover is part of China’s Chang'e lunar mission, which conducted the first lunar “soft landing” in almost 40 years. The Chang’e-3 lander and Yutu touched down smoothly on the surface of the moon in January 2013.

'But while Yutu now holds the record for the longest stay by a lunar rover, it hasn’t actually done all that much roving, Jeff Foust reports for SpaceNews. The rover started experiencing problems just a few lunar days into its mission, causing many of its systems to lock up.

'Luckily, Yutu could still analyze the rocks immediately around it in the moon's giant dark spot, Mare Imbrium. Scientists believe that this large lunar “sea” is actually a crater created by space debris. Then lava repeatedly flooded the massive pockmark for the next two billion years. The resulting landscape is one of the smoothest regions on the moon’s surface, Becky Ferreira writes for Motherboard.'

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