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Chinese rover reveals moon’s layers

Lunar subsurface has more complex history than expected, analysis shows

By
2:00pm, March 12, 2015
Chinese lunar rover

ROVER RADAR   Radar mapping done by China’s first lunar rover, illustrated, reveals that the moon’s geological history could be more complex than previously thought.

Radar waves beamed into the moon’s surface by China’s Yutu rover have revealed nine distinct subsurface layers directly beneath the rover’s landing site in the Sea of Rains. The multitude of rocky layers suggests that the moon has a more storied geological history than once thought, researchers report in the March 13 Science.

Yutu rolled onto the lunar surface in December 2013 (SN Online: 12/16/13). As the rover meandered near the rim of a nearby crater, two radar-emitting antennas probed the shallow lunar interior with radio waves. Whenever a burst of descending radio waves hit a boundary between two underground layers, a fraction of the waves reflected back to the rover. These reflected waves allowed the rover to peek roughly 400 meters into the moon’s innards and

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