Since January this year, a small Chinese robot has been crossing the oldest catastrophe of the Solar System. The Aitken basin, a huge crater on the hidden face of the Moon, was formed by a meteorite effect 170-kilometer-diameter about 3.9 billion years ago. This is the first time a robotic vehicle has traveled this territory and, as expected, makes important discoveries.
Scientists in the Chinese Chinese mission 4, the first to land successfully on the hidden face of the moon, believe they have found the remains of the moon's mantle, the inner layer which is the same. hidden under the crust and had little evidence to date.
The Moon is a piece of Earth that is torn by the impact of theia, the size of Mars, is the origin of the solar system, about 4.5 billion years ago. It was a violent catwalk so that our planet had disappeared for a few hours. A small part has been separated and mixed with theia remains, which turned into molten rock after the shot. For a time, the satellite was covered by an ocean of burning lava where heavier materials were crystallized in the background and the lighter ones remained on the surface, from the place where the collection was collected. first astronauts numerous samples in the sixties and seventies. Since then, the Moon's composition was beyond its outer layer of mystery.
Robot Yutu-2 landed in January this year in the Von Kármán crater, a basin about 180 kilometers in diameter which is inside Aitken crane, which has 2,500 kilometers of side by side in one of the most known. The hidden face of the moon is full of craters like these, many of which were formed during a violent period in the history of the solar system called the late-intensive bombing. The visible surface of the Moon was also destroyed by this leak, but in this case the holes were flooded with a volcanic lava which, when dried, formed the large plains known as seas. today.
The effect on Aitken was so violent that it penetrated beyond the moon crust and unveiled the mantle, spreading its contents across the surface. In a study published Wednesday by the prestigious magazine Nature, scientists at the National Academy of Sciences in China explain that a visible light and infrared spectra Yutu-2 shows that the composition of the soil differs from the composition of the reef in the satellite seas. The minerals have a high content of olivine and other thick compounds, of a type that may be deeper layers of the lava sea.
"These might be the first clear signs of the moon's mantle which came to the surface after the massive impact that formed Aitken basin," said Bernard Foing, director of the European Space Agency's Lunar Exploration Working Group, which collaborated with China's Chang Mission e-4.
The results are exciting, "said Patrick Pinet of the French Research Institute on Astrophysics and Planetology in a posted commentary with the article. T The data collected by Yutu may have "important implications for determining the composition of the outer mantle," as well as revealing the "depth, cooling rate and viscosity" of the former lava marsh covered by the Moon. "It is very important to reveal the hidden geology of the Moon, which will increase our knowledge of the formation of the Moon and the differences between its two faces," explains Pinet. "They can also change our view of the inner part of the planets. Explains the researcher, who, however, warns that Chinese results are preliminary and should be confirmed with more analyzes not only from the ground but also from the less explored moon surface rocks of the satellite.