Chinese lunar rover discovers new type of moon rock

China put its first rover on the surface of the Moon back in 2013 and the has been investigating the lunar surface the last few years since it landed. The Chinese rover was the first new rover to land on the moon in 40 years and the trip has paid off for scientists.

Chinese scientists have announce that the rover has discovered a never before seen type of basalt lying on the surface of the moon. The rock was identified using a pair of optical spectrometers that are on the Yutu lunar rover. Basalt is a volcanic rock formed by cooling lava flows that is rich in silica minerals.

The rock is about 2.96 billion years old and is the youngest rock identified to date. Scientists think the moon is about 4.5 billion years old. This new basalt is also unusually rich in iron, titanium, and olivine. The composition of the rock could help scientists answer some questions about the formation of the moon and its cooling.

American scientist Thomas Watters says that considering how little of the surface of the moon has been studied it's not surprising that the Chinese mission has found a new type of rock not previously sampled. Scientists still argue about just how the moon was formed and discoveries like this could one day answer that question.

SOURCE: Popular Mechanics