The first rover that performed a trip to the Moon’s far side has identified a layer of lunar dust up to 39 feet deep. The rover and its lander, which is placed in the Von Karaman crater, are from China’s Chang’e-4 project.
They land there last month, marking the first time when a spacecraft reached Moon’s far side without collapsing.
The rover performed a series of examinations and measuring the Moon’s ground dust with the help of radar. The results were described by the Italian and Chinese researchers as outstanding, publishing them in the Journal Science Advances.
The lunar dust, also dubbed regolith, is similar to the talc. It is a substance of sprinkled soil and rock that appeared after space objects bombarded the Moon’s ground, approximately billions of years ago. The Chang’e-4 discovery confirms that such a material also covers the Moon’s far side, in a layer described as “quite thick” by the researchers.
China’s Outstanding Lunar Rover Identified Dust on Moon’s Far Side
“This work shows that the extensive use of the [Chang’e 4 radar] could greatly improve our understanding of the history of lunar impact and volcanism and could shed new light on the comprehension of the geological evolution of the moon’s far side,” reads the study.
The Chang’e 4 rover has also discovered a coat of rough matter full of rocks, and some alternating layers of fine and coarse materials up to 131 feet deep.
The news that regolith caused issues before came after Peggy Whitson, an astronaut who stayed in space for 665 days, explained the influence of the dust. She stated that dust troubled a lot the Apollo missions, and such a thing needs to be handled soon. So, regolith measurements across the Moon’s ground could offer enough data for developing a system to avoid any issue.
“[…] we don’t understand how it will stir up the different kinds of regolith in different locations on the moon,” explained Alicia Dwyer Cianciolo, an aerospace engineer from Nasa.