In their new work, the group notes that they have now found that the soil on the far side of the Moon is different in texture from the soil on the side of the Moon facing our planet.
The Chinese National Space Administration launched the Chang’e-2 robotic space mission in December 2018 – the spacecraft entered lunar orbit a few days later, and the Yutu-2 rover touched down on the surface of our planet’s natural satellite on January 3.
The landing site was the eastern part of the Karman crater, which lies not far from the south pole. Since landing, the rover has traveled over 1,000 meters on the surface.
The rover is equipped with an airborne radar for studying the near-surface layer of the soil, an infrared spectrometer, a panoramic camera, and other tools that it uses to obtain information about its surroundings.
So far, the rover has made three important discoveries. First, the soil on the far side of the Moon turned out to be stickier than on the near side of the Moon, and also has larger grains. When moving the rover on the surface, lumps of soil sometimes stuck to the wheels, making it difficult to move.
These findings will help when planning the wheel structure for future all-terrain missions. The rover also helped to find out that there are more craters on the far side of the Moon and that they are mostly quite small in size – so far the rover has observed craters less than 12 meters in diameter.
The researchers believe that large numbers of small craters were likely formed as a result of fragments of larger collisions falling to the surface. The rover data also shows that there are fewer large rocks on the far side of the Moon and that it is more level than the surface of the near side of the Moon.
One of the stones discovered from a distance resembled a man-made object, which quickly received widespread media coverage. When viewed from a closer distance, it turned out that it was just a stone of an unusual shape.
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