China Has a Rover on the Moon & Here’s What It Found

We last went to the moon in 1972, except for
that rover China sent two years ago… It’sstill up there. Right now. moonpies
Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 all landedon our moon. Astronauts collected and returned
2,200 separate samples totalling 382 kilograms . Three Soviet Luna missions also
returned about 300 grams of lunarmaterial too. They get a participation award.
While it may sound like it, that’s not a lotof moon to study. That last Soviet was back in 1976. So, when
China landed on the moon in 2013, it shouldhave been pretty huge news! The moon had been
abandoned for almost 40 years. China’s Chang’e3 launched in 2013, making China the third
country to land a wheeled vehicle on the moon’ssurface, and the first in the 21st century.
The Chang’E-3 craft has a nuclear-poweredlander and a small rover named Yutu, or “jade
rabbit. ” Yutu’s complement is classified byChina, but we know it has cameras, lunar-penetrating
radar which can look 400 meters below thesurface, and two spectrometers for analyzing
the lunar rocks and soil . I know what you’re thinking, ‘MERCIA DID IT
FIRST CHAANA. You know what, you’re right. We landed humans there first. And the U. S. S. R.
landed a rover too, but there’s SO MUCH MOREto learn about the Moon. For example, Apollo
only dug 3 meters into the lunar surface,that’s not a lot. But, in March of 2015, Chinese
researchers published a paper in the journalScience announcing that Yutu’s lunar-penetrating
radar had found NINE subsurface layers! Thissuggests that geological activity had occurred
on the moon since the Imbrian period whichended 3. 2 billion years ago. Lunar geologists
believe “eruptions filled the at least five times. ” Scientists
didn’t think the moon had been active at allin that period, so now more research is needed.
For example, some scientists think the youngestvolcanic flows may be only a billion years
old, others think maybe 100 million, but,really, they have no idea, because they’ve
never gotten to test them up close!Another study published in December 2015’s
Nature Communication used data from Yutu’sinstruments and announced the discovery of
a whole new type of moon rock! The basaltrocks that Yutu is exploring with her spectrometers
are completely different from samples broughtback by the Apollo and Luna missions. Lunar
geologists think: 1. this means there wasexplosive activity in the region. Which counters
other theories. 2. that we still know almostnothing about the moon. As NASA put it, exploring the moon creates
opportunities for international cooperationand economic expansion; plus it pushes the
boundaries of our civilization. Yutu is thelatest in a long line of exploration of our
solar system, and though mechanical problemsrendered it immobile, and crippled, the Chinese
rover broke the record for the longest-operatingmission on the moon.

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