Chinese lunar rover Chang & # 39; s-4 discovered an unusually colored gel-like substance during its exploration activities across the moon.
The Utah-2 mission rover encountered this surprise during lunar day 8. The discovery prompted mission scientists to postpone other rover management plans and instead focus their tools on trying to figure out what weird stuff was.
Day 8 begins on 25 July; Utah-2 began circumnavigating an area littered with various small impact craters, with the help and planning of drivers at the Beijing Aerospace Management Center, according to a Utah-2 driving log published on August 17 by the government,  Related: Chang's 4 in Photos: China's Mission to the Far Side of the Moon
On July 28, Chang's e-4 team was preparing to power Yutu-2 for its usual lunch "nap" to protect the rover from high temperatures and radiation from the sun high in the sky. A member of the team examining images from the main camera of the rover noticed a small crater that seemed to contain material of color and luster as opposed to the surrounding lunar surface.
The motor team, excited by the discovery, summoned its lunar scientists. Together, the teams decided to delay Utah-2's plans to continue west and instead ordered the rover to check the weird stuff.
With the help of obstacle avoidance cameras, he carefully approached the crater and then turned to the unusually colored material and its surroundings. The rover examines the two zones with its Visible and Near Infrared Spectrometer (VNIS), which detects light that is scattered or reflected by materials to reveal their makeup.
VNIS is the same tool that detects irritating evidence of material originating from the moon mantle in the Von Permanent Crater, a discovery made by Chinese scientists in May.
So far, mission scientists have offered no indication of the nature of the colored substance and have stated only that it is "gel-like" and has an "unusual color." "One of the possible explanations claimed by the researchers is that the substance is a melt glass created by meteorites striking the surface of the moon.
The discovery of Utah-2, however, is not the first lunar surprise of scientists. Apollo astronaut 1
Chang-e-4 launched in early December 2018 and made the first ever soft landing on the other side of the moon on January 3. The Utah-2 Rover covered a total of 890 feet (271 meters) to the end of lunar day 8.
Watch: Chinese historical moon landing taken from probe chamber
Chang & # 39; e-4 and Yutu-2 lander comb closed at the end of lunar day 8 on 7 august and began its ninth lunar day at the weekend. The Yutu-2 rover woke up at 8:42 AM EDT on August 23 (00:42 GMT on August 24) and the farmer followed the next day at 8:10 (00:10 GMT).
On lunar day 9, Utah-2 will continue its journey west, take a protective six-day nap around local noon, and shut down for the ninth lunar night around September 5, around September 24, before the local sunset.
Sign up for the MACH Newsletter and follow NBC News MACH on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram.