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2015-12-24 16:46:48|  分类: Space |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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 美媒称,科研人员22日在英国《自然·通讯》上刊文称,中国的“玉兔”月球车发现了新的月球岩石品种。“玉兔”是自上世纪70年代以来首台登陆月球表面 的探测装置——如果那些坠毁月面的轨道探测器都不算数的话。“玉兔”正在探查的区域曾在相对较近的历史时期内被火山活动扰动。这里岩层相对年轻,距今不超 过30亿年,岩石成分不同于过去探月工程带回的那些样本。
  据美国《华盛顿邮报》网站12月22日报道,人们通常认为,月球产生于45亿年前一颗火星大小的行星(有时被称作“忒伊亚”)与年轻的地球发生的一次 碰撞,一个炽热的熔岩团由此诞生。5亿年后,月球内部的放射性元素在衰变过程中不断释放热量,导致月壳下方的月幔发生熔融,引起火山喷发。
  报道称,迄今为止,从月球采集的玄武岩样本中的钛元素含量要么特别高,要么特别低。但“玉兔”检测了在一座环形山附近的“年轻”岩石样本后发现,这里 玄武岩的钛含量处于中游水平,铁含量则相当高。这是非常重要的发现,因为玄武岩所含矿物质的结构与成分能够透露出形成玄武岩的岩浆的信息。


The Chinese Yutu rover has identified a new type of moon rock, according to a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications. The rover -- which was the first explorer to land on the moon since the 1970s, if you don't count orbiters that made crash landings -- is poking around a region that's been reshaped by volcanic activity relatively recently. At just under 3 billion years old, these slightly-less-ancient flows have rock unlike the samples brought home by previous missions.

The moon is generally thought to have formed when a Mars-sized planet (sometimes called Theia) collided with a young Earth about 4.5 billion years ago, creating a hot mess of molten rock. Around 500 million years later, building heat from the decay of radioactive elements inside the moon caused melting in the mantle and led to volcanic eruptions.

[New clues on the perplexing origin of the moon]

Until now, basalts sampled from the moon all had either very low or very high titanium content. By examining young rocks uncovered by an impact crater, Yutu (Jade Rabbit) found basalts with intermediate levels of titanium and high iron levels. That's important, because the order and composition of minerals in basalt can reveal the source of the magma that formed it.

"The variable titanium distribution on the lunar surface suggests that the Moon's interior was not homogenized," Washington University's Bradley L. Jolliff, who collaborated with Chinese scientists to analyze the rover's data, said in a statement. "We're still trying to figure out exactly how this happened. Possibly there were big impacts during the magma ocean stage that disrupted the mantle's formation."

In addition to showing the unexpected diversity of the moon, the results could help scientists do a better job of studying its surface from orbiters.

"We now have 'ground truth' for our remote sensing, a well-characterized sample in a key location," Jolliff said. "We see the same signal from orbit in other places, so we now know that those other places probably have similar basalts."

The Yutu rover, which landed in 2013, has been immobile since early 2014. But the rover still collects data, making it the world's longest reigning robot.


There’s still a lot to learn about our closest neighbour. China’s Yutu moon rover has discovered a new kind of rock on the lunar surface. The find suggests the moon’s make-up is more diverse than previously thought, and will help interpret future satellite-based observations.

China’s Chang’e 3 lander mission touched down on the moon in December 2013 and released the Yutu rover to explore the edge of a nearby crater, which was nicknamed “Purple Palace” at the time but is now formally known as Zi Wei.

The landing site was in the Mare Imbrium, a large area on the moon’s northern hemisphere thought to have been formed around 3 billion years ago when lava flooded a giant crater. The more recent impact that formed the Zi Wei crater in the Mare Imbrium exposed the ancient basalt rock that formed when the lava cooled, so sampling here allowed Yutu to look deep back in time.


Zongcheng Ling of Shandong University in Weihai, China, and his colleagues analysed data the rover collected on the basalt and found that concentrations of minerals including iron oxide, calcium oxide and titanium dioxide differ from those seen in the samples gathered by the Apollo astronauts and the Russian Luna probes in the 1970s.

That suggests Yutu had struck a new kind of moon rock, says Ling. “It is clear that these newly characterised basalts reflect a more diverse moon than initially realised at the time of the Apollo and Luna missions.”

Ling expects to make further discoveries as the rover continues to analyse its surroundings, he says. “Yutu is still acquiring data, although it cannot move around now.” The Chang’e 3 lander is also still operational, scanning the lunar surface and using the only telescope on the moon to give us unique views of the cosmos.

Journal reference: Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9880

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