Mysteries of massive formations found on the lunar gravitational map

Mysteries of massive formations found on the lunar gravitational map

The new gravitational map of the moon indicates a completely unexpected difference between the size of the ancient asteroids that collided with the moon millions of years ago and the size of the stone objects that now make up the main belt of asteroids.

Scientists expected to find hidden evidence of several large potential asteroids, the “planet killers” that collided with the moon, as computer models predicted. But the data collected by the now inactive satellite GRAIL showed only one, previously known, huge crater on the lunar surface - the Aitken Basin at the south pole of the Moon, as they say in the materials published this week by the journal Science Advances.

The dimensions of the crater give an insight into what happened at the dawn of the Solar System existence. During the so-called period of the late heavy bombardment, which scientists believe, occurred about four million years ago - just a few hundred million years after the formation of the Solar System - and the new inner planets became targets in the celestial dash .

“Computer simulations showed that the bombing could have been provoked by the displacement of the orbits of Jupiter and other giant planets, becoming a kind of gravitational slingshot directing stone objects inside the system. But the seas discovered by the GRAIL satellite are not suitable for this model, ”as Gregory Newman, from the Gotthard Space Flight Center, says. Newman also added that we have more than medium-sized objects that shaped the face of the moon, such as the Sea of ​​Rains (a huge crater-filled lava) and others. But we did not find evidence for very large objects, except for Aitken crater.

“We have been recording since 1996, trying to get a complete inventory of lunar seas formed after the impact, but we don’t have the gravitational fields we need to complete the work,” said Maria Zuber, a leading specialist of the GRAIL project.

“In general, the number of seas discovered by GRAIL is in the range that most scientists expected,” Zuber added.

Now, a certain number of seas, along with their size, can be used in a computer model to gather information, which will give a better understanding of what happened not only on the Moon, but also on Earth and other internal planets.

“The Earth was bombarded at the same time as the Moon, and if the latter escaped a large collision, then the Earth blow was not passed. This refers to a number of truly large-scale collisions, at a time when life began its development. We do not know how many times life was born and destroyed by early collisions, but if what we see on the Moon is confirmed - and we, I think, have reliable information - this will allow us to better understand how many large collisions the Earth could survive. time, ”summed up Zuber.

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