On the far side of the moon, the car Yuto-2 from China, From the Chang’e-4 mission, discover two small transparent glass globes.
The rover’s panoramic camera revealed two small spheres whose bodies can record information about moon dateincluding its mantle formation and impact events, according to the researchers who published the study in Science Bulletin.
Yuto-2 He was unable to obtain compositional data, but these natural lunar globes could be important research targets in the future.
The Glass is not uncommon in the moon, As usual. The organism is formed when the silicate material is exposed to high temperatures, and both components are readily available in the moon.
In the lunar past, there was widespread volcanic activity that led to the formation of volcanic glass. and influences from smaller objects, such as meteorites They also generate intense heat, which leads to the formation of glass.
The latter is what could be behind The pellets observed by Yutu-2According to a team of scientists led by a planetary geologist Zhi Yongxiao from Sun Yat-sen University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
However, it’s hard to know for sure, because most of the glass on the Moon so far looks different from it Discover Yutu-2 pellets. Pellets are abundant, but they tend to be less than one millimeter size.
On Earth, these tiny glass balls are created during the impact, generating heat so intense that the crust melts and sprays into the air. The molten material solidifies and retracts as small glass beads.
The Yutu-2 pellets They are much larger than 15 to 25 mm. This alone does not make it unique; Glass spheres up to 40 mm in diameter were found from the near side of the moon during the mission Apollo 16.
In addition to the two species that appear semi-transparent, they were found four balls Most of which have similar brightness, but their transparency cannot be confirmed.
Place of origin and formation of glass balls
These pellets are found near Modern impact diggingwhich might suggest that Formed during lunar meteor impactsalthough it is possible that they already existed, buried beneath the surface and simply dug up by impacts.
However, the team believes the most likely explanation is that they formed from a A volcanic glass called anorthosite Which melted again upon impact, turning into transparent round balls.
“If we take into account the peculiar shape, geometry, and local context of the glass spheres, they correspond to anorthosite collision glass,” the researchers wrote in their paper.
This can turn the objects into lunar equivalents of terrestrial formations called tektites: pebble-sized glassy objects that form when material from the ground melts, spreads through the air, and solidifies into a ball. When they fall again, like a larger version of those.
“As the world’s first discovery of transparent macroscopic glass spheres the moon“This study predicts that such globules should be abundant in lunar highlands, providing promising sampling targets for revealing the early lunar impact history,” the researchers say.
The Chang’e-4 . probe It was launched on December 8, 2018, and made its first smooth landing on Von Karmann Crater In the Antarctic Basin – Aitken on the far side of the moon on January 3, 2019. So far, Yutu-2 has traveled more than a thousand meters to the far side of the moon.
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