NASA’s GRAIL Mission helps Scientists Figure Out Moon’s Rough and Stony Look

NASA’s GRAIL Mission helps Scientists Figure Out Moon’s Rough and Stony Look

Scientists have now understood the reasons behind the moon's rough and stony look. It became possible for them because of the access they got into the details of the NASA's Gravity Recovery and Inside Laboratory mission. The details allowed them to figure out why the facial area of the moon acquired rugged look.

Precision formation flying technique helps the twin mission to map the moon's gravity field. Using the GRAIL's gravity maps, scientists found thin crusts and measured the actual size of the basins.

Maria Zuber from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge said, "Since time immemorial, humanity has looked up and wondered what made the man in the Moon. We know the dark splotches are large lava-filled impact basins that were created by asteroid impacts about 4 billion years ago".

It has been suggested by the latest study that the observed basins do not allow to measure the size of the initial impact by the asteroid as lava filled in those impacted areas later on, and thereby created basins.

Scientists realized after looking at the maps of both hemispheres that more basins are present on the near side of the moon in comparison to the far side, said Katarina Miljkovic of the Institute de Physique du Globe de Paris. The study was published in the Nov. 8 issue of the journal Science.

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