March 24, 2023

Studying the moon’s oldest geologic imprints

Learning the unknown about the Moon

New Curtin research has found the moon may have been subjected to much better impacts from asteroids along with other bodies than previously thought, building on our understanding of the particular moon’s earliest geologic development.

Published in  Nature Marketing communications , the research provides a better insight of how the oldest impact events on the moon may have left near-invisible cratering imprints, offering a  unique perspective   about the  advancement   of the Earth-moon system.

Guide researcher Associate Professor Katarina Miljkovic, from Curtin’s College of Earth and Planetary Science and the Space Technology and Technology Centre, mentioned the craters on the moon may have looked significantly various if they occurred while the celestial satellite was still cooling, following its formation.

“ These large effect craters, often referred to as impact basins, formed during the lunar  magma   sea solidification more than four billion dollars years ago, should have produced different looking craters, in comparison to all those formed later in  geologic history , ” Associate Professor Miljkovic stated.

“ A very young moon had formed with a global magma sea that cooled over numerous years, to form the moon we see today. So when asteroids and other bodies strike a softer surface, this wouldn’t have left such serious imprints, meaning there would be small geologic or geophysical evidence that impact had occurred. ”

“ The timeframe for the solidification from the lunar magma ocean differs significantly between different research, but it could have been prolonged sufficient to experience some of the large impact bombardment history typical for the earliest periods of the solar power system evolution.

“ As the moon age range and the surface cools, it becomes harder, and the bombardment imprints are a lot more noticeable simply by remote sensing. ”

Associate Professor Miljkovic said it remained imperative to understand the bombardment as well as the cratering record from the first epochs of solar system history in order to complete the story of how planets formed plus evolved.

Simply by comparing different perspectives of asteroid dynamics and lunar evolution modeling, Associate Teacher Miljkovic said her study suggested the  moon   may be missing evidence of its earliest crating record.

“ In this research, we set out to explain the discrepancy between theory and observations from the lunar crating record, ” Associate Professor Miljkovic mentioned.

“ Translation this finding will help future research understand the impact that the early Earth could have skilled and how it would have affected our planet’s evolution. ”

The full paper is titled “ Huge impact cratering during lunar magma ocean solidification. ”

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