The Chinese Chang’e-4 is the first human-made spacecraft to soft land on the dark side of the Moon, an event which happened on January 3rd. It first landed in a crater known as Von Kármán, which is roughly 180-km wide and is situated inside another massive crater, the South Pole Aitken (SPA), which is considered to be the biggest impact crater we know of in our Solar System, measuring 2,300 km in diameter.
The exact time when this crash had taken place is not precisely established, but we know that it had to be around 4 billion years ago and that the asteroid that caused it was roughly 170 km wide.
The Chinese Chang’e-4 spacecraft helps scientists understand more about the dark side of the Moon
The impact that caused its occurrence is considered to have been so strong and powerful that it tore the lunar crust apart and punched into its mantle. The Chinese spacecraft, Chang’e-4, was sent specifically to investigate this event, and found what scientists believe are mantle rocks on the lunar ground.
Even more then that Yutu-2 robot found rocks that do not match the chemical structure of any other moon specific material.
Specialists used the technology that the rover was equipped with in order to identify minerals such as low-calcium (ortho)pyroxene and olivine, inside the rocks, which are specific to the lunar mantle rocks. Also, they suggest that the asteroid that caused the collision dug as deep as 50 km into the crust in order to reach the mantle.
Scientists already planning the next mission to the Moon
The possibility of humans sending another mission on the Moon in order to collect the rocks and carry them to Earth so they can be thoroughly analyzed is taken into consideration, as deciphering the mysteries around the Moon mantle may lead to identifying the actual origins of the Moon and the steps of the transformation it went through.
Another puzzling question taken into account is what actually happened subsequent to the impact of the asteroid on the Moon. Hypothesis revolving around these issues suggests that molten rock might’ve filled the gigantic whole and that it created a “melt sheet” inside.
Patric Pinet, representing IRAP in Toulouse is thrilled by these findings and states that it is extremely important to continue analyzing the crater so that we can slowly find out where the Moon came from.