Tag Archives: lunar orbiter

Ancient crater may be clue to Moon’s mantle

A massive impact on the Moon about 4 billion years ago left a 2,500-mile crater, among the largest known craters in the solar system. Smaller subsequent impacts left craters within that crater. Comparing the spectra of light reflected from the peaks of those craters may yield clues to the composition of the Moon’s lower crust and mantle — and would have implications for models of how the Moon formed.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Researchers from Brown University and the University of Hawaii have found some mineralogical surprises in the Moon’s largest impact crater. (more…)

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Lunar impacts created seas of molten rock

A new analysis of data from NASA’s Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) shows that molten rock may have been present on the Moon more recently and for longer periods than previously thought. Differentiation — a settling out of rock layers as liquid rock cools — would require thousands of years and a fluid rock sea at least six miles deep.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Early in the Moon’s history an ocean of molten rock covered its entire surface. As that lunar magma ocean cooled over millions of years, it differentiated to form the Moon’s crust and mantle. But according to a new analysis by planetary scientists from Brown University, this wasn’t the last time the Moon’s surface was melted on a massive scale. (more…)

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