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Engineers have reactivated both Chang’e-4 and Yutu-2 to begin normal operations on their eleventh lunar day on the far side of the Moon.
As is usual for these reports from the state-run official media in China, the article provides little information. However, this article today from space.com provides an update on the “gel-like” material that Yutu-2 spotted in August.
While gaining the attention of the Yutu 2 team, the material does not appear altogether mysterious, as claimed by Chinese media.
Clive Neal, a lunar scientist at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, told Space.com that the new image reinforces the previous suggestion that the material is broadly similar in nature to a sample of impact glass found during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
…Dan Moriarty, NASA Postdoctoral Program fellow at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, has analyzed and processed the image, seeking clues as to its precise nature. While this compressed image lacks a lot of the useful information a raw image would contain, Moriarty said he could gain insights by adjusting parameters. “The shape of the fragments appears fairly similar to other materials in the area. What this tells us is that this material has a similar history as the surrounding material,” Moriarty said. “It was broken up and fractured by impacts on the lunar surface, just like the surrounding soil.
Overall, Yutu-2 has traveled about 950 feet or 290 meters westward from Chang’e-4 since it began roving at the start of the year.