"The globules simply blow our mind..."
China’s Yutu-2 rover just won’t stop making — or at least claiming – weird discoveries on the Moon. Case in point, Chinese space authorities now say it's found several mysterious glass spheres found on the far side of the lunar surface.
The team behind the discovery published a paper about the findings in the journal Science Bulletin, in which they describe the objects as "translucent glass globules."
The spheres are roughly a centimeter in diameter, they say, and were spotted in images taken by the panorama camera on the Yutu-2 rover on the dark side of the Moon.
While undoubtedly surprising, glass has been discovered on the Moon before in numerous instances, caused by meteorite impacts or the Moon’s past volcanic activity.
However, the glass that the scientists say Yutu-2 discovered is unusual because they say the spheres are bigger than glass typically found on the Moon. Also, the newest glass samples have a unique light brown coloring and are translucent.
"The globules simply blow our mind since they are so unique on the Moon," Dr. Zhiyong Xiao, an associate professor at the Planetary Environmental and Astrobiological Research Laboratory at Sun Yat-sen University and lead author of the study, said in a statement.
Glass Half Full
Xiao added that the discovery might indicate that similar glass spheres might be common on the far side of the Moon. If that’s the case, he suggests that it could also be an incredibly valuable resource for future lunar colonies to produce glass for construction material or tools.
Of course, we’re likely a long way from producing glass windows and greenhouses on the Moon, but it’s still a very fascinating discovery.
Though the globules seem plausible, it's worth noting that Yutu-2 has been the source of some sketchy claims during its tenure on the Moon. Remember that "moon cube" that turned out to be a boring rock? Or that "gel" that turned out to be, uh, another rock?
So in the case of the spheres, we might withhold judgment until more data comes in.
READ MORE: Translucent glass globules on the Moon [Science China Press]
More on the weird weird Moon: The Moon’s Backside Is Surprisingly Sticky, China’s Rover Finds
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