Mysterious material discovered in moon perplexes scientists, where it came from?
A new study report published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters has talked about the discovery of a mysterious material on the largest crater on the moon. Even though researchers are not sure about the origin of this material, some experts speculate that the mysterious mass could contain metal fragments from an asteroid that crashed on the lunar surface.
Researchers also revealed that this asteroid crash might have created the crater on the lunar surface known as the Lunar South Pole-Aitken basin. In the study report titled 'Deep Structure of the Lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin', researchers revealed that the crater is as wide as 2,000km. Even though this crater is so mammoth, humans cannot watch it from the earth, as it is located on the far side of the moon. It should be noted that the circumference of the moon itself is 11,000km, and it indicates the gigantic width of this crater.
"Imagine taking a pile of metal five times larger than the Big Island of Hawaii and burying it underground. That's roughly how much-unexpected mass we detected," said Dr. Peter James, assistant professor of planetary geophysics at Baylor University, and the lead author of the study in a recently issued statement.
Experts believe that the Lunar South Pole-Aitken basin is one of the oldest asteroid impact craters in the solar system which is approximately 4 billion years old.
"When we combined that with lunar topography data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, we discovered the unexpectedly large amount of mass hundreds of miles underneath the South Pole-Aitken basin. One of the explanations of this extra mass is that the metal from the asteroid that formed this crater is still embedded in the Moon's mantle," added James.
The researcher also added that this mysterious metal is weighing down the basin floor by more than half a mile. As per James, this basin is one of the most effective natural laboratories to study catastrophic events that played a crucial role in shaping planets and their moons.