Australian team maps Moon's hidden craters

Jun 18, 2013
The moon is 37 per cent obscured by the Earth's shadow during the partial lunar eclipse above Sydney on June 4, 2012. Australian scientists Tuesday said they had identified a possible 280 additional craters on the Moon, a finding they said could shed light on the history of the Earth's natural satellite.

Australian scientists Tuesday said they had identified a possible 280 additional craters on the Moon, a finding they said could shed light on the history of the Earth's natural satellite.

By combining and topography data collected by satellites, the scientists from Curtin University in were able to use computer modelling to at first identify two basins on the far side of the Moon.

They later developed a high-resolution image to find a total of 280 "candidate basins" which they suspect are craters.

"There are many more (craters) that have been mapped from optical observations or from just the shape of the topography," researcher Will Featherstone told AFP.

"So there's many, many craters that were already known, we've just been able to apply this technique to enhance the ones that aren't so easy to see.

"What we have been able to use is the topography and the gravity together to get a stronger indication that there is something there that needs further investigation."

Featherstone said the researchers looked at the on both the near and far sides of the Moon, the dark side being more challenging because satellites cannot be tracked from Earth when they are on that side.

To get around this, the researchers used data gathered from a mission which used multiple satellites which were tracking each other as they circled the Moon.

"So when the satellite orbiting the Moon went behind the far side and they couldn't be seen from Earth, they could be seen by other satellites," he said.

Featherstone said of the 280 possible craters, the researchers had classified 66 of them as distinctly visible according to both gravity and topography.

Some 66 of the possible 280 additional craters on the Moon, in a photo from Western Australia's Curtin University in Perth released on June 18, 2013. Australian scientists Tuesday said they had identified a possible 280 additional craters on the Moon, a finding they said could shed light on the history of the Earth's natural satellite.

"Scientists can, instead of looking at every square inch of the Moon looking for basins, they can target these areas," he said.

"It just helps investigations of the Moon and the history of the Moon and the ," he added.

The team has also done some work on the gravity of Mars and Featherstone said other data sets were also available for Venus and other planets.

He said scientists were optimistic about further discoveries from applying their techniques to new gravity data from NASA's GRAIL mission, which ended in late 2012 when the two satellites - named Ebb and Flow - were deliberately crashed on the Moon.

Explore further: Moon may harbour alien minerals, study says

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Gravity changes along the Moon

Apr 06, 2012

Using detailed topographic information from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, Curtin’s Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) spatial scientists, Dr. Christian Hirt and Professor Will ...

Moon may harbour alien minerals, study says

May 26, 2013

Minerals found in craters on the Moon may be remnants of asteroids that slammed into it and not, as long believed, the satellite's innards exposed by such impacts, a study said Sunday.

SMART crater on the Moon

Sep 04, 2012

(Phys.org)—On the morning of 3 September 2006, a brief flash illuminated the Moon's 'Lake of Excellence' as ESA's SMART-1 mission met its fate on the dusty surface.

Recommended for you

Testing immune cells on the International Space Station

8 hours ago

The human body is fine-tuned to Earth's gravity. A team headed by Professor Oliver Ullrich from the University of Zurich's Institute of Anatomy is now conducting an experiment on the International Space Station ...

Easter morning delivery for space station

13 hours ago

Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via the SpaceX company's Dragon cargo capsule.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Apr 19, 2014

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

Apr 18, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Easter morning delivery for space station

Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via the SpaceX company's Dragon cargo capsule.

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.