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Last year China successfully landed a spaceship on the far side of the moon. The craft dispatched the Chang’e-4 rover to explore a place mankind has never seen and before long reported back the discovery of a weird ‘gel like’ substance on the dark surface.

The rover sent back images of this discovery, which made headlines around the world. Now we know what it is and, suffice to say, it’s pretty underwhelming.

The Chang’e-4 mission is currently exploring the far side of the moon

Analysis of the imagery combined with studies of actual lunar regolith brought back by Apollo astronauts revealed the gel-like substance is in fact: rock. Specifically, it’s rock that’s been melted together in a blast of massive heat, possibly from a meteor impact. The result is the dark green, glossy substance picked up by the rover.

The glossy, green ‘gel-like’ substance on the moon

‘Chang’e-4 rover discovered a dark greenish and glistening impact melt breccia in a crater during its traverse on the floor of Von Kármán crater within the South Pole Aitken (SPA) basin on the lunar farside,’ the researchers wrote in their paper.

‘It was formed by impact-generated welding, cementing, and agglutinating of lunar regolith and breccia.’ So unfortunately, any hope we had of it turning out to be some toxic alien sludge have been dashed on cold, lifeless moon rock.