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Researchers in China have discovered mysterious “structures” buried on the far side of the Moon

Researchers in China have discovered mysterious “structures” buried on the far side of the Moon

The Chinese spacecraft of the Chang’e-4 mission helped scientists visualize structures “hidden” beneath the surface of the far side of the Moon, a feat that reveals billions of years of lunar history.

The Yutu-2 rover helped make this discovery using the Lunar Sounding Radar (LPR), which takes pictures deep below the lunar surface by listening for sound echoes from subsurface structures hidden from view.

The China National Space Administration has successfully explored the lunar surface three times. A lunar probe leaves traces after leaving a spacecraft on the dark side of the moon. (China National Space Administration/Xinhua News Agency via AP)

The same spacecraft and lander for the mission made history in 2019 as the first human object to land on the far side of the moon, which faces the outer part of Earth.

Scientists had previously used the rover’s GPR (Ground Penetration Survey) instrument, but those earlier efforts were only able to help map the upper 40 meters, or about 130 feet, of the lunar surface. Thanks to this exploration, they found the “hidden” structures at a depth of about 300 meters (984 feet).

The new data indicates that the first 40 meters below the surface of the moon consists of layers of dust, soil and rocks.

The radar analysis also revealed a buried crater formed when a large object slammed into the lunar surface and helped map ancient lava flows under the moon.

“The GPR system sends electromagnetic pulses into the interior of the moon and receives echoes from layers below the surface. We used high-frequency channel data to detect structure at the top of 40 meters along the rover’s path, which is primarily composed of rock debris and soil,” the study authors explained. .

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Scientists speculate that the fractured rocks surrounding this formation were most likely debris from the impact.

“Through this investigation, we have discovered multiple layers at the top of 300 metres, which likely indicate a series of basaltic eruptions that occurred billions of years ago,” they wrote.

The new study recently published in the journal Journal of Geophysical Research: PlanetsIt reveals that lunar lava likely flowed across the landscape of this part of the moon billions of years ago.

The researchers found that the layers of volcanic rock are thinner the closer they are to the surface of the moon.

They noted that “the variance in the thickness of the pyroclastic flows indicates a decrease in the size of the eruption over time.”

Based on this evidence, they claimed that lunar volcanism has gradually subsided since the formation of the moon more than 4.5 billion years ago, when a Mars-sized object slammed into Earth, chipping off a piece that eventually fused into the Earth and Moon.

The scientists concluded that “the thickness of the layers decreases with decreasing depth, which indicates a gradual decrease in the lava flow rate over time.”

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