China's Chang'e-4 Discovered 3 Layers Under The Surface Of The Moon's Dark Side

Dhir Acharya - Feb 27, 2020


China's Chang'e-4 Discovered 3 Layers Under The Surface Of The Moon's Dark Side

Since 2019, the Chang'e-4 has explored the far side of the Moon, sending scientists valuable data. And now, here comes another new discovery.

Right now, the Chang’e-4 is the only one exploring the dark side of the moon, which must be so lonely; however, it means there’s so much opportunity there too. Over the past year, the lander and the rover have revealed the secrets of the other side of the moon. The Yutu-2 rover has discovered a gel-like substance and shot pictures of the lunar surface. However, it has also been investigating what’s beneath.

Yutu-2 rover
Yutu-2 rover

Using its penetrating radar, the rover can send out pulses of radio waves through the lunar surface, and then they are bounced back, giving us a picture of what the underworld of the moon is like.

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science, in collaboration with researchers from institutes in China and Italy, have provided the first details of the moon’s dark side’s subsurface. The research team mapped the world under the surface to as deep as 40 meters, which reveals the geologic features.

The Chang'e-4
The Chang'e-4

Being smashed by space rocks over a course of 4.5 billion years, the lunar surface is full of craters. The South Pole-Aitken basin is a good example of that, providing information on the cosmic collision and revealing further about the minerals inside.

As shown by Chang’e-4’s radar, the crater has three different layers. The first one is the lunar regolith, filled with rocks and extending to about 12 meters below the surface. Under that is a layer of larger rocks as well as boulders that might have been there due to an impact event. And the last layer that’s about 24 meters down may contain larger rocks and finer dust.

The rover found three layers
The rover found three layers

The researchers believe that these layers were formed during the galaxy’s formative years. It’s possible that the moon was struck a lot, making material ejected from the surface then settle back. That may have created the layering observed now, each impact could cause a different distribution of soil and rock.

On the near side of the Moon, China’s Chang’e-3 couldn’t reach as deep as the Chang’e-4 has done. The Chinese Academy of Sciences’ National Astronomical Observatories’ deputy director-general Li Chunlai, also the author of the new paper, said in a press release that:

The rover found three layers
Li Chunlai

This suggests that the compositions of soil and rock at the two landing sites are different.

China is looking to launch another explorer to the moon by year-end, the Chang’e-5, which is expected to retrieve samples of the fine soil forming the lunar surface and bring them back to Earth.

>>> Your USB Charger Is More Powerful Than The Apollo 11 Guidance Computer

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