The way that Earth and the moon rotate leads Earth to see only one face of the moon, dubbed its near side. Instead of launching probes to drill into the moon to retrieve lunar mantle samples, scientists have long suggested letting cosmic impacts on the moon do the dirty work of digging, the study's researchers said.
For example, on the far side of the moon, a giant, ancient collision excavated a 1,mile 2,kilometer crater known as the South Pole-Aitken Basin. Now, using the Yutu-2 rover, Chinese scientists have revealed what may be the first details of the lunar mantle. The rover discovered minerals that appeared markedly different from typical lunar surface material, which the researchers suggested were likely excavated from below the South Pole-Aitken Basin floor by the impact that created the nearby mile-wide 72 km Finsen crater.
Analysis of the wavelengths of light reflected off these minerals revealed the presence of olivine and low-calcium pyroxene. This matches long-standing predictions regarding the composition of the upper lunar mantle, and may support the prevailing model of lunar formation and evolution with a cooling magma ocean, the scientists noted.
The scientists detailed their findings in the May 16 issue of the journal Nature. Cellar Club Cellar Club memberships. Fat Tire. Voodoo Ranger. Year Round. Belgian Collection. Abbey Trippel Up Next. Variety Pack.
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