China Discovers Mysterious 'Gel-Like' Substance on Far Side of Moon
China's Yutu-2 moon rover has discovered something decidedly weird as it explores the far side of the moon: an unidentified "gel-like" substance in a crater that has scientists mystified. The finding, made back in July, was reported on Twitter by the state-run People's Daily account over the weekend.
Yutu-2 rover, part of China's Chang'e-4 mission, has discovered an unusually colored "gel-like" substance during its exploration activities on the far side of the moon. Mission scientists are now trying to figure out what the mysterious material is. What do you think it is? pic.twitter.com/auw2F2JYvk— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) September 2, 2019
The finding of the unknown substance was described in greater detail on the Chinese language website Our Space. According to the site, Yu Tianyi, a deputy chief on the rover's team, noticed "a gel with a mysterious luster lying in the center of the crater" with a shape and consistency "significantly different from the surrounding lunar soil." The discovery brought further exploration to a stop so that scientists can spend time trying to ascertain the composition and origin of the unknown space goo.
This isn't the first time something outside the usual expectations of gray lunar dust has been discovered on the moon. LiveScience reports that a patch of orange soil was discovered by astronaut/geologist Harrison Schmitt during the Apollo 17 mission. The sample was later determined to be the remnants of ancient volcano activity thought to have taken place 3.64 billion years before. The site further notes that unidentified "outside researchers" suggest that the substance could be melt glass caused by meteors slamming into the moon. While that might explain the "mysterious luster," such a substance wouldn't really be a gel even in the moon's hottest temperatures, unless these "outside researchers" know something about glass that we don't.
As always, my suggestion is to feed it sugar water and see what happens. With any luck, we'll get a remake of The Blob.