The Moon has been an object of awe and fascination for thousands of years, with its shape-shifting powers and mysterious dark side.
And although it is the only celestial body on which man has taken (small) steps, we still have great leaps to understand its potential and reveal its secrets.
However, scientists have discovered a hidden feature of the moon that is very, very, very heavy.
Buried beneath the South Pole-Aitken Basin – one of the largest preserved craters in the solar system – is a structure that weighs at least 2.18 billion kilograms and is more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) deep and 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) long.
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the researchers Who made the discovery, all of which are based in the United States, hypothesized that the “anomaly” could consist of metal from an asteroid’s core or oxides from the crystallization of a magma ocean.
Lead author Peter B. James, of Baylor University in Houston, said in a joint statement with lead author Peter B. IFLScience.
Showing how big this thing is, he continued, “Imagine taking a pile of metal five times larger than the Big Island of Hawaii and burying it underground. That’s roughly the amount of unexpected mass we’ve discovered.”
Diagram of the far side of the Moon where the South Pole-Aitken Basin is located – the dashed circle indicates where the deep anomaly is located NASA/Goddard
The groundbreaking discovery was made thanks to NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, which measures changes in the moon’s gravitational field.
The data collected by GRAIL can then be used to study the internal composition of our crater-bore companion.
The Antarctic-Aitken basin has been at the center of many investigations due to its uniqueness.
The area offers clues to both the internal composition and history of our nearest satellite, and who knows what other mysteries it holds…
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