This intriguing story was found and passed along to us by A.S., to whom a big thank you, because this one adds more mystery to our Moon. The "stuff" that the Chinese Yutu 2 lunar probe, a surface lander on the far side of the Moon, found is being called, by the Chinese themselves, a "milestone". Here's the article, and note the pictures:
The language being used to explain the find is in itself not only intriguing, but highly suggestive:
While not looking particularly exciting to the untrained eye, the find has generated interest among lunar scientists. "It seems to have a shard-like shape and is sticking out of the ground. That's definitely unusual," Dan Moriarty, NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, told Space.com.
"Repeated impacts, stresses from thermal cycling, and other forms of weathering on the lunar surface would all tend to break down rocks into more-or-less 'spherical' shapes, given enough time," Moriarty said. "Think of how rocky beaches wear down stones to smooth, round shapes over time by repeated jostling in the waves."
Moriarty said both the shard-like shape and that pronounced "ridge" running near the edge of the rock seem to indicate that this rock is geologically young, and was emplaced relatively recently.
It's that little word "emplaced" along with "relatively recently" that has me wondering, as one might imagine. Those words, along with the second photograph from the Chinese probe, are highly suggestive:
Chinese National Space Agency photo of "the milestone" on the far side of the Moon.
As usual, "cue the scientist" with a "scientific" explanation:
"I would definitely guess an origin as impact ejecta from some nearby crater. It is possible that a rock with this aspect ratio could have been produced by a process known as spallation, where intact fragments of rock are blown off the nearby surface without experiencing the same degree of shock pressures that the immediate target undergoes," Moriarty said, adding that this initial assessment is just a guess.
Followup detections and data from VNIS will provide much greater insight. Clive Neal, a leading lunar expert at the University of Notre Dame, agrees that, based on the images, the specimens are impact ejecta rather than exposed bedrocks.
OK...it's nothing but "ejecta" from a crater, nothing to see here, move along.
...Except...uhm...er... allow me the "unscientist" to tell you what I see. I see a rock, with a distinctive wedge shape, and two more or less smooth sides on the "wedge", and with one side, that facing the camera of the probe, looking rather rough, like said wedge was broken off of something, perhaps another chuck of the wedge. And, importantly, the wedge is sticking out of the ground.
That last fact, to me, puts the "ejecta" explanation into a bit of a cocked hat, because had this neat wedge-shaped rock been blown out of a crater, the chances of it landing the way it did would be rather low, I would think. It would be rather like tossing a coin and having the coin land on its edge, rather than one of its faces. Not impossible, but very unlikely. Being blown out as ejecta, the rock would more than likely tumble a bit, before coming to rest on one of its faces, not on its edge. Notably, as it tumbled across the lunar surface, it would also leave scrapes and traces of its tumbling, which is not evident in the second picture, nor, as far as I can tell, the first picture. Indeed, if one looks at the first picture, one also sees other curious "somethings" poking above the lunar surface, of which I count five. It's almost as breathtaking as the Blair Cuspids, except these are on the far side of the Moon. Some of these look to be cylindrical, while two others look either pyramidal, or alternatively, like smaller wedge shapes.
So, yea, I'm skeptical for the moment of the "scientific explanation," that we're looking at "ejecta." I think we are looking at a "something", positioned closely to five other "somethings."
And while we're at it, it's notable that the "scientific" explanation is coming from NASA and the "academy," or as I like to call it, the "quackademy," while China is referring to it as the "milestone." Perhaps, just perhaps, China is sending a message, the message being, "We found some cool stuff too, just like the Russians and Americans did, but we found it on the far side..."
That's all. Have a nice day, and...
...see you on the flip side...