China’s Chang’e 4 lander and accompanying Yutu 2 rover have been busy on the lunar surface.
In a Yutu 2 diary published by Our Space, the rover came across a strange rock specimen scientists are now referring to as the “milestone”. This is because it was an independent standing stone that appeared like a milestone on a highway.
The rover is planned to approach and analyse the rock with its Visible and Near-infrared Imaging Spectrometer (VNIS) instrument, to get a deeper insight into the rock’s make-up. This requires a clear plan as the rover requires very specific movements to be in the right position to collect this information.
“It seems to have a shard-like shape and is sticking out of the ground. That’s definitely unusual,” Dan Moriarty, NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at the Goddard Space Flight Center told Space.com.
“Repeated impacts, stresses from thermal cycling, and other forms of weathering on the lunar surface would all tend to break down rocks into more-or-less ‘spherical’ shapes, given enough time,” Moriarty said. “Think of how rocky beaches wear down stones to smooth, round shapes over time by repeated jostling in the waves.”
The Yutu 2 rover has well surpassed its life expectancy of 90 Earth Days so these extra discoveries are proving to be an incredible set of extra scientific research beyond expectations.
Picture: Our Space