Space is one of the mysteries that has caught human attention, and one of the most observed objects from Earth is the Moon.
It is known that the natural satellite of the planet shows us only one face, and various investigations tried to solve what is hidden on the dark side of the moon. It wasn’t until 1959 that the Soviet Luna 3 probe gave us a glimpse.
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Since then, we’ve learned that the far side of the moon is very different from what the satellite shows us daily, and although we didn’t know what caused the difference, the study could explain what happened.
A giant impact of billions of years
to me study Conducted at Brown University, the moon was impacted by an object that formed the huge basin known as the Moon’s South Pole-Aitken (SPA).
This shock would have created a massive plume of heat that would spread across the interior of the Moon. This would have moved some of the material to the visible side of the Moon, and the concentration of the elements would have contributed to the volcanoes that created the volcanic plains on the near side.
“We know that large impacts, such as the one that formed the SPA, generate a lot of heat,” explains Matt Jones of Brown University and lead author of the study, “but the question is how does this heat affect the moon’s internal dynamics?” “.
“What we show is that under any plausible conditions at the time the Aitken Basin formed, it ends up concentrating these heat-producing elements on the near side. We think this may have contributed to the mantle melt that led to the outflows.” that we see on the surface,” says Jones.
For the research, computer simulations were run of how the heat from a giant collision changes convection patterns in the moon’s interior, and how this might redistribute a type of material in the lunar mantle.
Models of the Moon’s interior suggest that it should have been more or less uniformly distributed under the surface, but this new model shows that the uniform distribution would be altered by the heat plume from the Aitken Basin effect.
Although differences in volcanic sediments are evident, future missions will also reveal differences in geochemical composition, the authors note.
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