Unearthed Subsurface Formations Found Beneath the Moon’s Far Side

Scientists have recently unveiled a trove of secrets hidden beneath the moon’s surface, dating back billions of years.

The moon, our enduring celestial companion, has been a source of wonder and enigma for millennia. Thanks to China’s space program, we are now unraveling its ancient mysteries.

In 2018, China’s Chang’e-4 lander, part of the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA), achieved a historic feat by becoming the first spacecraft to successfully land on the moon’s far side, often referred to as the dark side.

Since then, Chang’e-4 has been capturing remarkable images of impact craters and collecting mineral samples, providing a much-anticipated glimpse into the moon’s surface composition, specifically the top 1,000 feet.

Recently, the findings from Chang’e-4’s mission were published, granting the world access to the moon’s intriguing history.

According to the results published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, the uppermost 130 feet (40 meters) of the lunar surface comprises multiple layers of dust, soil, and fragmented rocks.

Within these layers, researchers identified a crater, formed by a colossal object colliding with the moon, as explained by Jianqing Feng, an astrogeological researcher at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, who co-led the pioneering analysis.

Beneath this crater, Feng and his team uncovered five distinct strata of lunar lava that once flowed across the moon’s landscape billions of years ago.

Scientists theorize that our moon came into existence approximately 4.51 billion years ago when a Mars-sized object collided with Earth, resulting in a fragment breaking away from our planet.

Over the next 200 million years, the moon endured a barrage of impacts from space debris, leaving behind a trail of cracks on its surface.

Similar to Earth, the moon’s mantle contained reservoirs of molten magma. These magma pockets seeped into the newly formed cracks through volcanic eruptions, as explained by Feng.

However, the data gathered by Chang’e-4 demonstrated that the closer the volcanic rock was to the moon’s surface, the thinner it became.

“The moon was gradually cooling down and losing its volcanic activity in its later stages,” Feng commented. “With time, its energy waned.”

It is now widely accepted that lunar volcanic activity ceased between one billion and 100 million years ago, effectively rendering the moon “geologically dead.”

Nonetheless, Feng and his colleagues posit the intriguing possibility of hidden magma reservoirs lying deep beneath the moon’s surface.

Chang’e-4’s mission is far from over, and Feng’s team anticipates that this marks only the inception of their groundbreaking lunar mapping endeavors.

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