"It seems to have a shard-like shape and is sticking out of the ground."

Rock On

A Chinese rover has discovered an unusually-shaped rock, suspected to be a piece of a meteor, wedged into the surface of the Moon.

According to Space.com, China’s Yutu-2 rover made its discovery on the far side of the Moon. The elongated shard was described as a “milestone” by the China National Space Administration’s (CNSA) science outreach channel Our Space — and it stands out as the latest example of the fact that the long-observed lunar surface can still hold surprises for intrepid explorers.

Image via China National Space Administration

Shard Shaped

What has lunar scientists most excited by the object is its shape, which stands out from most other rocks on the Moon. 

“It seems to have a shard-like shape and is sticking out of the ground,” Dan Moriarty, a NASA postdoctoral program fellow at the Goddard Space Flight Center, told Space.com. “That’s definitely unusual.”

According to Moriarty, typical lunar rocks are rounded due to “forms of weathering on the lunar surface.”

Deep Impact

Next, CNSA researchers plan to inspect the rock further using the rover’s visible and near-infrared imaging spectrometer to analyze its material composition.

Further analysis is needed to determine a more precise origin. For now, though, Moriarty hypothesized to Space.com that the rock is a fragment of a meteor impact — a reminder that the desolate surface of the Moon is a living geological environment that continues to be shaped by brutal asteroid impacts. 

READ MORE: China’s Yutu-2 rover finds “milestone” on far side of the moon [Space.com]

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