Large mass discovered under moon’s crater, believed to be metal from asteroid
A mysterious mass of material was found under the largest crater in our solar system on the opposite side of the moon. Baylor University scientists speculate the mass may contain metal from an asteroid that crashed into the moon and formed a crater.
«Imagine taking a pile of metal five times the size of the Big Island of Hawaii and burying it underground. About the same amount of unexpected mass we found», — said the lead author of the study «Deep structure of the South Pole lunar basin — Aitken» Peter B. James.
Crater is oval in shape, 2,000 kilometers wide and several kilometers deep. Dense mass «whatever it is, wherever it comes from» pushes the bottom of the pool down more than a kilometer.
The researchers modeled the strong impacts of the asteroids and concluded that the asteroid’s core may have remained suspended in the Moon’s mantle until today, rather than sinking into the Moon’s core. It is also possible that a large weight may be a solidified ocean in lunar magma.
James said the South Pole basin — Aitken, which was created about 4 billion years ago, is the largest surviving crater in Solar system. The researcher named the pool «one of the best natural laboratories for studying catastrophic impacts and the ancient process that shaped all the rocky planets and moons that we see today».
Earlier we wrote that for deep space exploration NASA will resume the development of nuclear engines.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Baylor University