The moon, our celestial neighbour, has fascinated scientists and space enthusiasts for centuries. Over the years, numerous missions have unveiled some of its secrets, but there's always more to discover.
In a recent interview with Jianqing Feng, a prominent lunar scientist and a planetary scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, we delve into groundbreaking research conducted by the Chang'e 4 rover mission, shedding light on the moon's geological history and the enigmatic layered structures beneath its surface.
Jianqing Feng, the leading researcher on the study, collaborated with a team of dedicated scientists, including Matthew A. Siegler, Yan Su, Chunyu Ding, and Iraklis Giannakis. While the interview primarily focuses on Jianqing Feng's insights and expertise, it's essential to acknowledge the collaborative efforts that have led to these remarkable discoveries.
Uncovering the moon's mysteries
The interview's main focus was to gain insight into the study's main findings regarding the layered structures in the upper several hundred meters of the moon's surface along the Chang'E-4 rover's traverse.
According to Jianqing Feng, ground-penetrating radar technology provided a unique glimpse into the moon's subsurface. Within the first 40 meters, a mixture of dust, dirt, and broken rocks, known as "regolith," was identified, along with hidden craters.
As the rover dug deeper, from 90 to 300 meters, it encountered five distinct layers akin to thick slices of a lunar pie. Some layers were surprisingly thin, measuring just 20 meters, while others exceeded 70 meters in thickness. Jianqing Feng emphasised that the deeper they went, the more substantial these layers became.