tech2 News StaffApr 26, 2019 11:27:46 IST
Bollywood may have invented the stereotype of the Moon being kora and nirdosh (fair and flawless), but the truth is far from it. Very far.
In fact, a big part of what makes the Moon so visually captivating are the thousands of spots, crevices, and craters scattered throughout the Moon's surface.
New research shows that some of the Moon's cracks are 20 kilometres deep. These were caused over millions of years as a result of asteroids impacts.
A 1-kilometer-wide asteroid (viewed by astronomers as being relatively 'small') can create 20 km-deep-fissures in the Moon, according to the study. Larger asteroids that are 10 km in diameter or more, can cause cracks 20 km-deep, too, but these can also stretch as far as 300 km along any direction from a meteorite impact site.
This study is exciting since the moon, despite being very well researched and documented, we are constantly finding new aspects like these.
"The fragmentation goes much deeper than we thought," Sean Wiggins, lead author of the paper and student at Brown University, told LiveScience.
Researchers simulated physical tests using the volcanic rock on Earth — the closest analogs to moon rocks. Wiggins and his colleagues also used computer simulations to find out how deeply and widely the lunar crust might have been cracked by impacts from asteroids and any other debris from the early solar system. The cracks grew, over time, and connected to create a lunar crust that is very fragmented — called the "megaregolith."
The density of the Moon is also much lower than scientists had earlier thought.
"Data gathered by GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) showed that the moon's crust was far less dense than expected", Wiggins told Live Science.
By putting together detailed maps of the Moon's megaregolith, scientists are hoping to better understand how those regions conduct heat differently. This could lend clues to the formation of moons of other planets, or even the planets themselves.
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