sábado, 1 de junio de 2013

Moon's surface gravity mystery solved

Image credit: NASA

NASA's twin GRAIL probes have helped to solve why the Moon's gravity appears to be uneven. The two spacecraft had orbited the Moon for nine months, recording information about the composition and internal structure. During this time, scientists were able to pinpoint the location of several areas of concentrated mass which are thought to be responsible for the Moon's uneven gravity. The findings will help improve navigation during future missions to the Moon and beyond.
"GRAIL data confirm that lunar mascons were generated when large asteroids or comets impacted the ancient moon, when its interior was much hotter than it is now," said GRAIL co-investigator Jay Melosh. NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission has uncovered the origin of massive invisible regions that make the moon's gravity uneven, a phenomenon that affects the operations of lunar-orbiting spacecraft.

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