As the space race moves forward with each passing moment, it would seem that every new discovery enriches our knowledge of the Universe. The Chang’e 3 space mission has once more brought our moon under the spotlight. Chinese wandering rover unearths never before seen moon rocks, after spending almost two years on the Moon’s surface.
Yutu is the name of the marauding rover, which is part of the Chang’e 3 unmanned space mission. The Chang’e 3 program represents three of Asia’s most prominent countries, in terms of space exploration, including India, China, and Japan.
This comes to show us that the United States and Russia aren’t the only countries in the world who have access to advanced space programs. Apart from the Asian countries and the two behemoths of space exploration, England also tackled the possibility of developing its own space program back in the ‘70s.
Thus, in 1971, Great Britain was able to launch Prospero, the first satellite made in Great Britain, using a pair of rockets manufactured in Australia, in a factory belonging to the nation. Unfortunately, after the successful launch of Prospero, Great Britain decided to forfeit the space race and officially announced that Britain will put an end to its space program.
Now, concerning the nature of the moon rocks studied by Yutu, it would seem that the rover managed to stumble to something totally new. During the American moon expedition from 1969 to 1972, and to the Russian expedition which took place in 1976, the astronauts managed to collect several volcanic rock sample from the moon, but all of them pale in comparison to this discovery made by Yutu.
Yutu, or the Jade Rabit, as scientists, like to call the rover, managed to land of a relatively young lava bed. During his expedition to this ancient formation, Yutu managed to dig up some very interesting basaltic rocks. Due to the fact that this volcanic formation is quite young, the rock samples obtained by the rover have a high purity level.
According to traditional cosmology, it would seem that Earth’s moon was formed, when an object with the size of Mars, clashed with Earth. This collision threw debris into space, and a larger chunk of rock got caught in Earth’s gravitational field. Over several million years this chunk of rock became the celestial object, famed in song and story.
The discovery can be considered to be very significant because the rock sample can give us an insight into the Moon’s natural history. According to several theories, over 500 million years ago, the entire surface of the Moon was covered by lava rivers.