Moon Is Battered Worse Than First Thought

By: | 12/07/2021 11:31 AM ET
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The moon is battered than first thought, after new measurements were taken by a set of twin NASA spacecrafts, Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL).

GRAIL is an American lunar science mission in NASA’s Discovery Program which uses high-quality gravitational field mapping of the Moon to determine its interior structure.

The new information of how fragile the moon is comes from the twin GRAIL spacecrafts, nicknamed Ebb and Flow, which began orbits around the celestial body earlier this year.

Data sent back from Ebb and Flow show’s that the moon’s crust is thinner than originally thought at about 25 miles thick. There is also evidence showing that under that thin crust, due to a bombardment of meteors, and a possible collision with earth, early in its life, the moon has a highly fractured interior.

The Moon is thought to have formed nearly 4.5 billion years ago, not long after the Earth. Although there have been several hypotheses for its origin in the past, the current most widely accepted explanation is that the Moon formed from the debris left over after a giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized body.

To collect data, the washing machine-size spacecraft flew in formation, orbiting about 35 miles above the moon’s surface. Their positions allowed them to peer deep into the moon.

The spacecraft also managed to see landforms on the moon in greater detail than before including volcanoes, basins and craters.

The findings were presented Wednesday at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco and published online in the journal Science.

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