China’s lunar rover does what India’s Chandrayaan 2 is hoping to do on the Moon’s South Pole

Impact crater with mysterious materialChina National Space Administration

  • China lunar rover Yutu 2, has discovered a new 'gel-like' substance inside one of the craters of the Moon.
  • The discovery has Yutu 2 moving at a record pace of three steps a day.
  • India's Chandrayaan 2 is hoping for similar discoveries on the Moon's South Pole.
  • Chandrayaan 2's lunar lander and rover, Vikram and Pragyan, are aiming to uncover new elements among the craters on the Moon's South Pole.
As China's lunar rover Yutu 2, was exploring the part of the lunar surface that no one's ever been to before — the far side of the Moon shrouded in darkness — it seems to have stumbled upon a new 'gel-like' substance.

The Chinese space agency describes it as a 'gel with mysterious lustre'.


The photo that caught the attention of astronomers on groundChina National Space Administration

Yutu 2 was actually on its way to its 'midday nap' when the Beijing Aerospace Control Center noticed something glistening in the crater. Now, Yutu 2 is moving at its fastest ever pace — three steps a day — towards the object to examine it further.

China's Yutu 2 or the 'Jade Rabbit'China National Space Administration

China isn't the only country looking for previously undiscovered elements on the Moon by exploring regions that no country's ever been to before.


India's Chandrayaan 2 is on a similar mission — but at the Moon's South Pole.

India's mission to find exotic materials

India's lunar lander and rover, Pragyan and Vikram, are also hoping to chance upon new elements as it heads towards craters, where the shadowed regions have been protected from sunlight for millions of years.

Because sunlight is limited, the temperatures in these areas can dip as far as -230 degrees Celsius — cold traps that should contain water and ice from comets, meteorites and solar wind induced iron reduction.

Pragyan rover mounted on the ramp projecting from out of the sides of Vikram landerISRO

"Scientists are expecting some exotic stuff that will have far reaching applications on the high tech industry," Chaitanya Giri, a fellow for space and ocean studies at Gateway House told Business Insider.

NASA scientists assume that the uppermost surface of the Moon has been continuously getting reworked over the past thousand years.


Even if scientists don't any new elements, they're hoping that since the areas are so preserved — they might reveal fossil records from the early Solar System.

The Moon's South Pole is uncharted territory — no other country has attempted to explore particular area because the amount of craters make it a risky landing. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K Sivan admitted that Chandrayaan's 2's soft landing on the moon will be the "15 most terrifying minutes" for the ground team.

Vikram will separate from Chandrayaan 2's orbiter today at noon is expected to touch down on the lunar surface on 7 September 2019.


See also:
India's Chandrayaan 2 takes the lead ahead of America, Russia, and China as the first of many missions to the Moon's South Pole

Chandrayaan 2 will give India bragging rights even if it doesn't find water

India's second mission to the moon will use these 14 high-tech instruments to look for water