China’s Yutu Exposes The Layers Of The Moon

Data from the Yutu rover indicate that there are at least nine distinct layers below the surface of the Moon.

AsianScientist (Mar. 17, 2015) – Latest results from China’s Moon mission indicate that the moon is more complex that previously thought, with at least nine geological layers below its surface. The results, published in Science, suggest that processes such as lava flows and weathering occurred in the 3.3 billion year history of the Moon.

On December 14, 2013, the Chang’E-3 (CE-3) spacecraft made a soft landing on the Moon, making it the first Moon landing since the the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 mission in 1976. Upon landing, CE-3 released the Yutu (jade rabbit) rover which proceeded to make measurements of the Moon’s crust using ground-penetrating radar.

Preliminary results from the Yutu readings showed that there are at least nine layers of lunar soil, or regolith, on the Moon, suggesting that the Moon’s geological history is more complex than previously thought. Led by first author Dr. Long Xiao from the China University of Geosciences, the researchers proposed that the layers were formed by ancient lava flows and weathering of rocks into the loose layers of dust that make up the regolith today.

The article can be found at: Xiao et al. (2015) A Young Multilayered Terrane of the Northern Mare Imbrium Revealed by Chang’E-3 Mission.


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Rebecca did her PhD at the National University of Singapore where she studied how macrophages integrate multiple signals from the toll-like receptor system. She was formerly the editor-in-chief of Asian Scientist Magazine.

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