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Moon Science

MIT-Led Mission Reveals the Moon's Battered Crust Is Riddled With Cracks 39

SternisheFan sends this quote from the Boston Globe: "The moon's battered crust is riddled with deep fractures that may extend miles underground, according to the first findings from two NASA spacecraft orbiting Earth's nearest neighbor. The results of the mission, led by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist, surprised researchers, who said it will provide new insight into the evolution of the early solar system, and even help inform the search for life on Mars. Announced Wednesday, the discoveries are also a reminder that the familiar moon still holds secrets four decades after NASA ended its manned missions there. 'We have known that the moon's crust and other planetary crusts have been bombarded by impacts, but none of us could have predicted just how cracked the lunar crust is,' said Maria Zuber, the MIT geoscientist who led the mission, called GRAIL." Here are the abstracts from the three studies published in Science.
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MIT-Led Mission Reveals the Moon's Battered Crust Is Riddled With Cracks

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Without plate tectonics, the fact that the moon is riddled with cracks as it cooled is hardly surprising. The pounding it took during the late heavy bombardment probably didn't help either.
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @08:00PM (#42198435)
      I think it cooled before (or as) it was tidally locked to Earth. So the cracks could be remnants of tidal forces, not cooling. Not that the difference is important, but it may help for learning history of plants/moons.
      • And if some believe the Moon was larger at some time earlier, it fits my theory that it was not due to a “giant impact" but instead moved into the tidal lock pattern, which caused internal heating of the moon, and some shinkage internally, but the crust was already cooled and stiff. When you have a relatively stiff outer core, but the internal core is cooked and can shrink, the outer core will want to settle inward, but due to its already stiff composition, it can't just settle in. It will crack. T
      • ...they are underground chambers prepared by the alien overlords who have been watching us for millions of years. They'll be making their move on December 21, 2012 to mark the end of an era predicted by Mayan astronomers. Right before the end of the world, the aliens will scoop up their followers in a big rapture. They will hide them and feed them in the underground chambers of the moon away from the chaos on earth. Then the big Yahweh chief of all aliens will make his apparition, as written. He, he.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          The end of the Mayan calendar is as meaninful as the end of the 2-digit year or overflow of UNIX time. It's a prediction of the Earth ending like computer guys in the 1960s predicted the end of the world in 1999 when they picked 2-digit years that assume a preceding 19xx. Oh, it wasn't a prediction, but was lack of proper foresight? But that would never happen to the Mayans who never lived to see their calendar run out.
          • by Lithdren ( 605362 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @02:25PM (#42206041)

            The parent is of course, insane, but im afrade you're also inaccurate.

            Dec 21st 2012 is the end of the 13th baktun and the beginning of the 14th baktun. This is important to the Mayans as they believed that we live in the 4th itteration of the planet earth. The first 3 failed, for various reasons, the longest being the third, which lasted 13 baktuns. The coming of the 14th baktun is important to them because it means this world will now be the longest running. Previous worlds were not well suited to life, and humans didn't appear untill this particular version. It's a sign that this world is good, pure, and running well. Makes me laugh every time I read something about the end of the world, they couldn't be further from the truth.

      • Learning/confirming that history would also serve as a "cheap" testing ground for unmanned missions to explore cracks on more distant surfaces such as Mars and Europa.
  • by sighted ( 851500 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:50PM (#42198345) Homepage
    One of the interesting parts of this mission is MoonKAM [], which let grade school and middle school kids select targets on the lunar surface for the orbiters' cameras to inspect. It returned some pretty interesting (if low-res) images until a solar flare recently took the imaging system down. If you're interested, there's some more info about GRAIL: today's announcement from NASA [], and a public lecture [] tomorrow with a live feed.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    While cheese can keep for a long time if refrigerated properly,
    the SPACE environment is too dry for its extended stay.

  • A "battered crust" is a rocky outer layer pelted by meteorites, and not the delicious outer layer of a corndog.

  • So the "moon" has a "crack".....anyone? Really? Guess it's just me....
  • Suddenly I have a desire to have a croissant. =[
  • Accidentally bounce yourself into a miles-long crack and you'll be treated to a slow and agonizing fall to the depths of the moon before your oxygen tank is depleted.

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