A plagioclase-rich rock measured by Yutu-2 Rover in Von Kármán crater on the far side of the Moon

1Pei Ma et al. (>10)
Icarus (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2020.113901]
1Planetary Science Institute, School of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China
Copyright Elsevier

The Chang’E-4 spacecraft successfully landed in Von Kármán crater inside the South Pole-Aitken basin on the lunar far side on January 3, 2019 and the Yutu-2 Rover has performed explorations on the lunar surface for nine lunar days as of September 2019. Our earlier analysis of the visible and near-infrared spectrometer measurements made by the Yutu-2 rover during the first two lunar days shows that the regolith of the landing site may have come from the nearby Finsen crater and is dominated by plagioclase with lesser amount of mafic minerals. During its third lunar day explorations, the Yutu-2 photographed a small piece of lunar rock and measured its reflectance spectra. Compared with the spectra of its surrounding regolith, this rock’s spectra have deeper absorption features, indicating its fresher nature. To obtain the mineralogy of the rock, we compared the rock’s spectra with the spectral library data of NASA’s reflectance experiment laboratory of returned lunar rocks and lunar meteorites. We found that this rock is also plagioclase-rich with a possible plagioclase abundance of 60–80 vol%. A source region analysis using the Moon Mineralogy Mapper’s remote sensing observations indicates this rock was ejected from the Zhinyu crater, about 30 km west of the landing site, rather than directly from the Finsen crater. Numerical simulations of the Zhinyu crater on the impact cratering process and ejecta thickness distribution confirmed our findings and imply that the surficial materials at the CE-4 landing site experienced a complicated evolution rather than simply retaining the pristine or primordial ejecta directly from the Finsen crater.


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