In 1969, humans walked the surface of the moon for the first time. That was a big step for both then and now. And although countless probes and telescopes are now observing the celestial body, we do not know everything about it. Especially when it comes to smaller discoveries, he obviously still has a lot in store for us. For example, a Chinese rover recently encountered the Moon Back on a strangely round object.
Moon Reverse: Where does the sphere come from?
The moon rover Yutu-2 discovered the ball between dust and stone. In and of itself, glass is not uncommon on Earth’s natural satellite. After all, it is formed when silicate material is exposed to high temperatures. There is much of the former on the far side of the moon and the rest of the surface. The moon reached high temperatures in its volcanic and meteorite-shattered past.
“The particular morphology, geometry and local context of the glass spheres are consistent with the fact that they are anorthositic impact glasses,” writes a team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Sun Yat-sen University in a related study.
But what makes this particular sphere so special are the mysteries it can hold. The researchers hope to gain insights into the history of the moon from it and comparable objects. Also, the beads found on the back of the moon are usually semi-transparent with a special glassy sheen.
Based on finds that can be made near terrestrial volcanoes, the Chinese research team also draws first conclusions for the moon.
“As the first discovery of macroscopic and translucent glass globules on the moon, this study predicts that such globules should be abundant across the lunar highlands and represent promising sampling targets to uncover the moon’s early impact history.”
Zhiyong Xiao et al.
It remains to be seen what the glass spheres will tell us about our satellite. After all, it confronts us with ever new puzzles. It was not until December 2021 that some people discovered a house on the back of the moon in pictures of the Yutu-2 rover.
Source: “Translucent glass globules on the Moon” (2022, Science Bulletin)