In 2019, a set of images collected by the rover Yutu-2, from the Chinese mission Change-4, revealed the existence of a strange-colored gelatinous substance in a small crater located on the darker side of the Moon. Now, a deeper analysis presents a discovery response that puzzled scientists.
According to the study published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, carried out by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the substance identified is the result of the melting of rocks due to the impact of meteorites or volcanic eruptions.
The scientists based the Change-4 findings in September 2019. The probe was able to detect the "gel" by inspecting the crater with a spectroscopic tool known as VNIS (Visible and Near-Infrared Spectrometer). The technology is able to determine the chemical composition of a substance by analyzing the light that this material reflects.
It should be remembered that, at the time the discovery was made, it was already suspected that the substance could be treated with glass melted by the heat of meteorites that reached the lunar surface, leaving a crater in place.
The discovery was also compared to another "mysterious" lunar substance found during the North American Apollo 17 mission in 1972, which accounted for the existence of orange soil in the natural satellite. The origin is attributed to a volcanic eruption dated 3.54 billion years ago.
In an interview with the Space.com website, Dan Moriarty of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center says that exploring the far side of the moon is a challenge, as there are no samples that can be used to create analysis models. The researcher also indicates that there is a possibility that the results of the Chinese study are not entirely accurate.
For now, the conclusions of the investigation by the Chinese Academy of Sciences are not definitive. The scientists stress that the analysis had limitations related to the lack of lighting that may have influenced the measurements made through VNIS.