In a recent study published this month, China’s Yutu-2 rover has made an astonishing breakthrough – the detection of an intricate network of hidden passages underneath the enigmatic dark side of the moon. Detailed in a peer-reviewed article within the journal Geophysical Research: Planets, this discovery is shedding light on the moon’s uncharted territories and its potential significance for future exploration.
Launched aboard the Chang’e-4 spacecraft in 2018, the Yutu-2 rover has embarked on an unprecedented lunar expedition armed with unique technology. By employing Low-Frequency Penetrating Radar (LPR) equipment, the rover emits radio signals that pierce through the moon’s surface, capturing the resulting echoes. Author Jianqing Feng, an astrogeological researcher from the Planetary Science Institute, likened this process to the echolocation mechanism used by bats.
This pioneering technology has enabled scientists to breach the first 40 meters of the lunar surface, revealing a remarkable revelation. The accumulated data exposes a complex topography characterized by layers of fragmented rocks. Within these layers lie five distinct strata of lunar lava, attributed to colossal impacts from celestial bodies such as asteroids. This phenomenon not only explains the moon’s iconic craters but also offers insights into its geological history.
An established scientific hypothesis suggests that the moon was once an integral part of Earth until a colossal impact with an external object approximately 4.51 billion years ago led to its separation. This cataclysmic event caused fractures that triggered volcanic eruptions, allowing magma to escape onto the lunar surface. Feng postulates that despite the decline in volcanic activity around 1 billion years ago, traces of residual magma might still exist within the moon.
As the Yutu-2 rover’s findings reshape our understanding of the moon’s geological evolution, it opens up avenues for further exploration and investigation into the moon’s enigmatic past, paving the way for exciting possibilities in the realm of lunar exploration.”