(ORDO NEWS) — In the pictures of the Yutu-2 apparatus, scientists noticed a pair of large translucent glass spheres – most likely the result of a recent meteorite fall.
The Yutu-2 lunar rover is part of the Chang’e 4 mission, which has been operating on the far side of the Moon since 2019 and regularly reminds of itself by discovering unexpected and unusual objects. The next – and perhaps the most important – such find was a pair of small translucent glass balls.
There is no big mystery in the find: according to Zhiyong Xiao and his co-authors, the balls were most likely formed during a meteorite impact or as a result of volcanic activity that persisted in the first epochs of the Moon’s existence.
Suffice it to recall that the lunar rover operates in the 186 km Von Karman crater , which itself is located in the huge (about 2500 km) South Pole-Aitken impact basin and is surrounded by other impact craters.
Sintered glass spheres have been found more than once on the Moon before, but mostly these are the smallest cloudy particles in the composition of the local regolith.
These same balls are quite large (1.5-2.5 centimeters in diameter) – almost like the samples found by the Apollo 16 astronauts. Unlike those spheres found on the far side of the moon, they are almost transparent.
They are extremely interested in scientists, because they must preserve the most valuable information about the composition and past of our satellite. Some images taken by Yutu-2 show other similar objects nearby, although the camera resolution is not enough to reliably identify them.
Apparently, this “scattering” of glass was formed during the impact of a meteorite, which instantly melted silicon minerals and splashed drops to the sides. In flight, they quickly froze, retaining a spherical shape, as happens with tektites on Earth. And apparently, it all happened not so long ago.
The authors of the article note that over a hundred thousand years, the lunar regolith covers objects with a layer of several centimeters, but these balls lay right on the surface. They either appeared recently, or were recently taken out from the depths.
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