As per the new study, researchers found the signs of metal in the asteroid that hit the celestial satellite which later formed into an aforementioned crater, known as the Lunar South Pole-Aitken basin. The research was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters in April 2019. Lead author Dr. Peter James, assistant professor of planetary geophysics at Baylor University, said in a statement, “Imagine taking a pile of metal five times larger than the Big Island of Hawaii and burying it underground. That’s roughly how much-unexpected mass we detected.”

Image Source: Joe Klamar/AFP

If we compare the Lunar South Pole-Aitken basin with the Moon it has stretched over one-fourth size of the Moon and it around 1,500 miles in direction. This statement was delivered by NASA officials. Looking over the Moon’s specifications as the circumference of the Moon is roughly 11,000 kilometers. It is said that the Pole-Aitken basin is around 4 billion years old and is one of the largest impact craters known to the researchers. After looking at the data and the changes in the gravity from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) it was found that “When we combined that with lunar topography data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, we discovered the unexpectedly large amount of mass hundreds of miles underneath the South Pole-Aitken basin,” James said. “One of the explanations of this extra mass is that the metal from the asteroid that formed this crater is still embedded in the Moon’s mantle.”

It is also found that the iron-nickel core may have been stored over the upper mantle of the Moon. James also conveyed that “whatever it is, wherever it came from” is dropping down the basin due to its weight and it is going down by more than half a mile. “We did the math and showed that a sufficiently dispersed core of the asteroid that made the impact could remain suspended in the Moon’s mantle until the present day, rather than sinking to the Moon’s core,” James noted.


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