Earth's Moon in the News





Scientists discover rare mineral in lunar meteorite that suggests frozen water may be hiding beneath the moon's surface   Daily Mail - May 4, 2018
Mankind's first home away from Earth may soon be discovered, as new research shows that frozen water may be lurking beneath the moon's surface -- giving new hope that the dusty planet could sustain human life. Scientists say they've discovered traces of a rare mineral, called moganite, in a lunar meteorite that was found 13 years ago in northwest Africa. Mogamite, which is a crystal similar to quartz, requires the presence of water in order to form, so its discovery is being hailed as new proof that frozen water exists beneath the moon's surface.




The moon once had an atmosphere   Science Daily - October 12, 2017
A new study shows that an atmosphere was produced around the ancient Moon, 3 to 4 billion years ago, when intense volcanic eruptions spewed gases above the surface faster than they could escape to space.




Moon has a water-rich interior   Science Daily - July 24, 2017
Using satellite data, researchers have for the first time detected widespread water within ancient explosive volcanic deposits on the moon, suggesting that its interior contains substantial amounts of indigenous water. A new study of satellite data finds that numerous volcanic deposits distributed across the surface of the Moon contain unusually high amounts of trapped water compared with surrounding terrains. The finding of water in these ancient deposits, which are believed to consist of glass beads formed by the explosive eruption of magma coming from the deep lunar interior, bolsters the idea that the lunar mantle is surprisingly water-rich.




Scientists: Moon over the hill at 4.51 billion years old   PhysOrg - January 11, 2017
It turns out the moon is older than many scientists suspected: a ripe 4.51 billion years old. That's the newest estimate, thanks to rocks and soil collected by the Apollo 14 moonwalkers in 1971. A research team reported Wednesday that the moon formed within 60 million years of the birth of the solar system. Previous estimates ranged within 100 million years, all the way out to 200 million years after the solar system's creation, not quite 4.6 billion years ago. The scientists conducted uranium-lead dating on fragments of the mineral zircon extracted from Apollo 14 lunar samples. The pieces of zircon were minuscule - no bigger than a grain of sand.




How Earth's previous moons collided to form the moon: New theory   Science Daily - January 9, 2017
new theory suggests the Moon we see every night is not Earth's first moon, but rather the last in a series of moons that orbited our planet. Moons formed through the process could cross orbits, collide and merge, slowly building the bigger moon we see today. The newly proposed theory by researchers runs counter to the commonly held "giant impact" paradigm that the moon is a single object that was formed following a single giant collision between a small Mars-like planet and the ancient Earth.




The Many-Moons Theory   New Yorker - January 9, 2017
Unbeknownst to most earthlings, the moon is experiencing a crisis. Geophysicists will tell you that itÕs a compositional crisis - a crisis regarding the stuff of which the moon is composed. But it's also an identity crisis, as much for the scientists as for the object they study.




New finding supports Moon creation hypothesis   PhysOrg - September 26, 2016
A layer of iron and other elements deep underground is the evidence scientists have long been seeking to support the hypothesis that the moon was formed by a planetary object hitting the infant Earth some 4.5 billion years ago, a new study led by Johns Hopkins University scientists argues. A paper uses laboratory simulations of an Earth impact as evidence that a stratified layer beneath the rocky mantle Š which appears in seismic data Š was created when the Earth was struck by a smaller object. The authors argue this was the same impact that sent a great mass of debris hurtling into space, creating the moon.




Vast asteroid created 'Man in Moon's eye' crater   BBC - July 20, 2016
One of the Moon's biggest craters was created by an asteroid more than 250km (150 miles) across, a study suggests. It smashed into the lunar surface about 3.8 billion years ago, forming Mare Imbrium - the feature also known as the right eye of the "Man in the Moon". Scientists say the asteroid was three times bigger than previously estimated and debris from the collision would have rained down on the Earth.




Earth's moon wandered off axis billions of years ago   Science Daily - March 23, 2016
A new study reports Earth's moon wandered off its original axis roughly 3 billion years ago. Ancient lunar ice indicates the moon's axis slowly shifted by 125 miles, or 6 degrees, over 1 billion years. Earth's moon now a member of solar system's exclusive 'true polar wander' club, which includes just a handful of other planetary bodies.




  Earth's moon wandered off axis billions of years ago, study finds   PhysOrg - March 23, 2016
A new study reports discovery of a rare event - Earth's moon slowly moved from its original axis roughly 3 billion years ago. Planetary scientists made the discovery while examining NASA data known to indicate lunar polar hydrogen. The hydrogen, detected by orbital instruments, is presumed to be in the form of ice hidden from the sun in craters surrounding the moon's north and south poles. Exposure to direct sunlight causes ice to boil off into space, so this ice - perhaps billions of years old - is a very sensitive marker of the moon's past orientation.




  NASA releases recording of 'outer-space type music' from far side of the moon   CNN - March 24, 2016
This conversation, between Apollo 10 astronauts Eugene Cernan and John Young, as their craft flew around the far side of the moon, remained under wraps for over four decades. While transcripts were released in 2008, audio of the discussion, and the sounds that the astronauts were referencing, is only just being made public.




  New clues about how Earth got its moon   CNN - January 30, 2016
It's the only world besides Earth that man has set foot on. But we still don't know exactly how it got there. Now, rocks brought back by the Apollo astronauts in the late '60s and early '70s are providing new clues about how Earth got its moon. Many scientists have long theorized that the moon formed after a planet called Theia crashed into Earth about 4.5 billion years ago.




New type of moon rock discovered by Chinese lunar lander   The Guardian - December 23, 2015
The Yutu rover, part of the Chang'e-3 unmanned lunar mission, has identified a type of basalt unlike anything collected by previous Soviet or US missions. Chinese scientists have identified a new kind of rock on the moon. An unmanned Chinese lunar lander, launched in 2013, has explored an ancient flow of volcanic lava and identified mineral composition entirely unlike anything collected by the American astronauts between 1969 and 1972, or by the last Soviet lander in 1976.




Mound near lunar south pole formed by unique volcanic process   Science Daily - October 15, 2015
Within a giant impact basin near the moon's south pole, there sits a large mound of mysterious origin. Research by geologists suggests that the mound was formed by unique volcanic processes set in motion by the impact that formed the basin.




Mound near lunar south pole formed by unique volcanic process   PhysOrg - October 15, 2015
A giant mound near the Moon's south pole appears to be a volcanic structure unlike any other found on the lunar surface, according to new research by Brown University geologists. The formation, known as Mafic Mound, stands about 800 meters tall and 75 kilometers across, smack in the middle of a giant impact crater known as the South Pole-Aitken Basin. This new study suggests that the mound is the result of a unique kind of volcanic activity set in motion by the colossal impact that formed the basin.




Multiple studies address riddles of the Moon's origin   BBC - April 9, 2015
The Moon may have been formed by a collision between Earth and an object that was strikingly similar in composition to our own planet. This could help resolve why Earth and Moon rocks are much more similar than we would expect from this "giant impact hypothesis". Two further research papers in the issue report subtle, previously unseen differences in lunar rocks. Scientists say they paint a consistent - and much clearer - picture of our satellite's history. The modeling study, done by researchers from Israel and France, precisely simulates the turmoil of the early, inner Solar System and quantifies the variety of collisions that might have occurred. In its early stages, the proto-Earth would have been subjected to a string of brutal collisions with other wannabe planets. According to our best understanding, the last of these was a cataclysmic tangle with a planetary body just ten times lighter than Earth - and the resulting debris eventually clumped together to make the Moon.


Violent formation of the moon: New view   Science Daily - April 8, 2015
Scientists have reconciled the accepted model of the moon's formation with the unexpectedly similar isotopic fingerprints of both bodies. The results suggest that the impact that formed the moon was so violent, the resulting debris cloud mixed thoroughly before settling down and forming the moon.




Earth's other 'moon' and its crazy orbit could reveal mysteries of the solar system   PhysOrg - February 25, 2015
We all know and love the moon. We're so assured that we only have one that we don't even give it a specific name. It is the brightest object in the night sky, and amateur astronomers take great delight in mapping its craters and seas. To date, it is the only other heavenly body with human footprints. What you might not know is that the moon is not the Earth's only natural satellite. As recently as 1997, we discovered that another body, 3753 Cruithne, is what's called a quasi-orbital satellite of Earth. This simply means that Cruithne doesn't loop around the Earth in a nice ellipse in the same way as the moon, or indeed the artificial satellites we loft into orbit. Instead, Cruithne scuttles around the inner solar system in what's called a "horseshoe" orbit.




How can we search for life on icy moons such as Europa?   PhysOrg - November 25, 2014
Our solar system is host to a wealth of icy worlds that may have water beneath the surface. The Cassini spacecraft recently uncovered evidence of a possible ocean under the surface of Saturn's moon, Mimas. Mimas is not alone in the possibility of having a global ocean, which would potentially provide a foothold for life to exist. Other worlds under examination include Jupiter's moon, Europa. In 2013, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope observed evidence that Europa erupts water, while the Cassini spacecraft has observed geysers spewing on Saturn's moon, Enceladus.




  Young Volcanoes on the Moon   NASA - November 25, 2014
Planetary scientists have long thought that lunar volcanism came to an end about a billion years ago, and little has changed since. Yet Ina looked remarkably fresh. For more than 30 years Ina remained a mystery, a "one-off oddity" that no one could explain. Turns out, the mystery is bigger than anyone imagined. Using NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a team of researchers led by Sarah Braden of Arizona State University has found 70 landscapes similar to Ina. They call them "Irregular Mare Patches" or IMPs for short.




Fossils could be discovered on the moon: Signs of ancient life may be littered across the moon   Science Daily - July 31, 2014
Physicists have tested what would happen if a piece of rock containing microscopic fossils from Earth was launched into space and hit the surface of the moon. The team turned fossil-filled rock into powder which was mixed with water and frozen to replicate a meteoroid.




Moon mystery: Why our Earth's satellite is lemon-shaped   BBC - July 30, 2014
Scientists have worked out the reasons for the distorted shape of our Moon. A US team calculated the effect on the shape of the early Moon of tidal and rotational forces. Shape-shifting occurred when the Moon was mostly liquid beneath a thin outer crust of rock. This interaction with the Earth also caused the Moon to shift slightly on its own axis.




  Traces of another world found on the Moon   BBC - June 6, 2014
Researchers have found evidence of the world that crashed into the Earth billions of years ago to form the Moon. Analysis of lunar rock brought back by Apollo astronauts shows traces of the "planet" called Theia. The researchers claim that their discovery confirms the theory that the Moon was created by just such a cataclysmic collision. The accepted theory since the 1980s is that the Moon arose as a result of a collision between the Earth and Theia 4.5bn years ago.

Theia was named after a Titan goddess in Greek mythology who was said to be the mother Selene the goddess of the Moon. It is thought to have disintegrated on impact with the resulting debris mingling with that from the Earth and coalescing into the Moon. It is the simplest explanation, and fits in well with computer simulations. The main drawback with the theory is that no one had found any evidence of Theia in lunar rock samples. Earlier analyses had shown Moon rock to have originated entirely from the Earth whereas computer simulations had shown that the Moon ought to have been mostly derived from Theia.




Moon's Age Revealed, and a Lunar Mystery May Be Solved   Live Science - April 3, 2014
Scientists have pinned down the birth date of the moon to within 100 million years of the birth of the solar system - the best timeline yet for the evolution of our planet's natural satellite. This new discovery about the origin of the moon may help solve a mystery about why the moon and the Earth appear virtually identical in makeup, investigators added. Scientists have suggested the moon was formed 4.5 billion years ago by a gigantic collision between a Mars-size object named Theiaand Earth, a crash that would have largely melted the Earth. This model suggested that more than 40 percent of the moon was made up of debris from this impacting body. Current theory suggests that Earth experienced several giant impacts during its formation, with the moon-forming impact being the last.


'Geologic clock' helps determine moon's age   Science Daily - April 3, 2014
Planetary scientists have determined that the moon formed nearly 100 million years after the start of the solar system, according to a new article. This conclusion is based on measurements from the interior of the Earth combined with computer simulations of the protoplanetary disk from which the Earth and other terrestrial planets formed.




NASA HD Moon Map Reveals Lunar North Pole Like Never Before (Photo)   Live Science - March 20, 2014
A new mosaic from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter showcases the north pole in high resolution. The images run from 60 to 90 degrees north latitude, with a resolution of 6.5 feet (2 meters) per pixel. At right are images of the Thales crater. A new high-resolution map of the moon's north pole shows a view of the surface that even the Apollo astronauts would envy. The new lunar mosaic - which was captured by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) - resolves features as small as 6.5 feet (2 meters), providing information that could be used for landing-site scouting or to answer various questions about the surface of the moon, agency officials said. With scientists and the public able to click, zoom in and move around the map, it's the first time an interactive mosaic has been released of the moon's north pole.




'Biggest observed meteorite impact' hits Moon   BBC - February 24, 2014
Scientists say they have observed a record-breaking impact on the Moon. Spanish astronomers spotted a meteorite with a mass of about half a tonne crashing into the lunar surface last September. They say the collision would have generated a flash of light so bright that it would have been visible from Earth. "This is the largest, brightest impact we have ever observed on the Moon," said Prof Jose Madiedo, of the University of Huelva in south-western Spain. The explosive strike was spotted by the Moon Impacts Detection and Analysis System (Midas) of telescopes in southern Spain on 11 September at 20:07 GMT.




    BBC - December 16, 2013
The first robot to land on the Moon in nearly 40 years, China's Jade Rabbit rover, has begun sending back photos, with shots of its lunar lander. Jade Rabbit rolled down a ramp lowered by the lander and on to the volcanic plain known as Sinus Iridum at 04:35 Beijing time on Saturday (20:35 GMT). It moved to a spot a few metres away, its historic short journey recorded by the lander. On Sunday evening the two machines began photographing each other. A Chinese flag is clearly visible on the Jade Rabbit as it stands deployed on the Moon's surface.




Water Hidden in the Moon May Have Proto-Earth Origin   Science Daily - September 11, 2013
The Moon, including its interior, is believed to be much wetter than was envisaged during the Apollo era. The study investigated the amount of water present in the mineral apatite, a calcium phosphate mineral found in samples of the ancient lunar crust. These are some of the oldest rocks we have from the Moon and are much older than the oldest rocks found on Earth. The antiquity of these rocks make them the most appropriate samples for trying to understand the water content of the Moon soon after it formed about 4.5 billion years ago and for unravelling where in the Solar System that water came from.




Moon Water Discovery Hints at Mystery Source Deep Underground   Live Science - August 28, 2013
Evidence of water spotted on the moon's surface by a sharp-eyed spacecraft likely originated from an unknown source deep in the lunar interior, scientists say. The find - made by NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 probe - marks the first detection of such "magmatic water" from lunar orbit and confirms analyses performed recently on moon rocks brought to Earth by Apollo astronauts four decades ago, researchers said.




Scientists Detect Magmatic Water On Moon's Surface   Science Daily - August 27, 2013
Scientists have detected magmatic water -- water that originates from deep within the Moon's interior -- on the surface of the Moon. This surficial water unfortunately did not give us any information about the magmatic water that exists deeper within the lunar crust and mantle, but we were able to identify the rock types in and around Bullialdus crater.




Metamorphosis of Moon's Water Ice Explained   Science Daily - June 19, 2013
Using data gathered by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission, scientists believe they have solved a mystery from one of the solar system's coldest regions - a permanently shadowed crater on the moon. They have explained how energetic particles penetrating lunar soil can create molecular hydrogen from water ice. The finding provides insight into how radiation can change the chemistry of water ice throughout the solar system.




Mystery of Moon's Magnetic Field Deepens   Live Science - May 10, 2013
The moon generated a surprisingly intense magnetic field until at least 3.56 billion years ago, 160 million years longer than previously thought, a new study reports. These findings could shed light not just on the magnetic field of the moon, which is now extremely weak, but on that of asteroids and other distant worlds, investigators added. Earth's magnetic field is created by its internal dynamo, which itself is generated by the planet's churning molten metal core. Research increasingly suggests that the moon once had a dynamo as well, with evidence of magnetism found in lunar rocks returned by Apollo astronauts.




Water on Earth and Moon May Have Same Source   Live Science - May 10, 2013
Water deep inside Earth and the moon may originate from the same source: ancient meteorites, scientists say. The findings hint that water may have existed on Earth before the giant impact the planet received that created the moon, and that the moon possessed water from its earliest moments, scientists added. It remains a mystery exactly how water found within the moon survived this violent collision, though. Water is vital to life as we know it, with organisms found virtually everywhere there is water on Earth. When Earth was born, the ingredients of the planet's water most likely would have formed beyond the orbit of Earth. As such, all the water on the planet must have come from either comets or meteorites hurtling inward from the outer solar system.




New Scars Found on Moon, Hint at "Recent" Tectonic Activity   National Geographic - February 23, 2012
Long trenches called graben suggest early moon wasn't fully melted. Parts of the moon's surface have been stretched apart to form shallow, sunken valleys, according to a new study based on NASA images. The presence of the long, thin valleys - known as graben - suggests that the moon has undergone relatively recent tectonic activity, within the past 50 million years or so. That activity in turn hints that the moon may not have been entirely melted when it first formed roughly 4.6 billion years ago. Instead the early moon likely




What if the earth had two moons?   PhysOrg - December 28, 2011
he idea of an Earth with two moons has been a science fiction staple for decades. More recently, real possibilities of an Earth with two moon have popped up. The properties of the Moon's far side has many scientists thinking that another moon used to orbit the Earth before smashing in to the Moon and becoming part of its mass. Since 2006, astronomers have been tracking smaller secondary moons that our own Earth-Moon system captures; these metre-wide moons stay for a few months then leave.




Earth has two 'moons' right now, theorists say   NBC - December 26, 2011
Earth has two moons, a group of scientists argues. One is that waxing and waning nightlight we all know and love. The other is a tiny asteroid, no bigger than a Smart Car, making huge doughnuts around Earth for a while before it zips off into the distance. That's the scenario posited by the scientists in a paper published Dec. 20 in the planetary science journal Icarus. The researchers say there is a space rock at least 1 meter (3.3 feet) wide orbiting Earth at any given time. They're not always the same rock, but rather an ever-changing cast of "temporary moons."




Subtly shaded map of moon reveals titanium treasure troves   PhysOrg - October 7, 2011
A map of the Moon combining observations in visible and ultraviolet wavelengths shows a treasure trove of areas rich in Titanium ores. Not only is Titanium a valuable mineral, it is key to helping scientists unravel the mysteries of the Moon's interior.





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