View Full Version : An Astounding Discovery on the Moon!

04-14-2006, 08:47 PM
The "man on the moon" has been found. Really! Planetary scientists from The Ohio State University in Columbus have found the remains of ancient lunar impacts that occurred some 4 billion years ago that may have helped create the surface feature commonly called the "man in the moon."

This OSU study suggests that a large object hit the far side of the moon and sent a shock wave through the moon's core and all the way to the Earth-facing side. The crust recoiled--and the moon still bears the scars from that encounter today. The finding holds implications for lunar prospecting and may even solve a mystery about how past impacts on Earth affect its geology today.

The early Apollo missions revealed that the moon isn't perfectly spherical. Its surface is warped in two spots; an earth-facing bulge on the near side is complemented by a large depression on the Moon's far side. Scientists have long wondered whether these surface features were caused by Earth's gravity tugging on the moon early in its existence when its surface was still molten and malleable. But study leaders Laramie Potts and Ralph von Frese say these features are instead remnants from ancient impacts. They came to this conclusion after mapping the moon's interior through gravity fluctuations measured by NASA's Clementine and Lunar Prospector satellites to map the moon's interior.

They expected to see defects beneath the moon's crust that corresponded to craters on the surface. Old impacts, they thought, would have left marks only down to the mantle, the thick rocky layer between the moon's metallic core and its thin outer crust. And that's exactly what they saw, at first. But then they noticed on the far side of the moon that the crust looks as though it was depressed and then recoiled from a giant impact. Beneath the depression, the mantle dips down as if it had absorbed a shock. Evidence of the ancient catastrophe should have ended there. But some 700 miles directly below the point of impact, a piece of the mantle still juts into the moon's core today.


04-14-2006, 08:49 PM
I thought the Pillsbury Doughboy thought it was cheese and just took a big bite. This changes everything.