US News: Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US NewsScientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island

06:00  11 june  2019
06:00  11 june  2019 Source:   msn.com

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A large mass of unknown material has been discovered on the largest crater on the Moon and scientists aren't sure what it is. "Imagine taking a pile of metal five times larger than the Big Island of Hawaii and burying it underground.

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The far side of the moon is hiding a colossal secret beneath its airless, pockmarked surface.

No one is quite sure what it is - the most precise wording researchers can muster is a "large excess of mass."

The feature lurks dozens of miles beneath a 1,550-mile-wide impact crater called the South Pole-Aitken Basin, which we can't see from Earth. Ideas for what the mysterious lump may be include the splattered core of a giant metallic asteroid or an ocean of red-hot magma that slowly froze in place.

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It takes the moon about the same amount of time to spin once on its axis as it does for the natural satellite to orbit the Earth: 27.3 days. Such observations could help researchers better understand why the lunar near and far sides are so different, scientists have said.

Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island © NASA/LROC/Arizona State University "Imagine taking a pile of metal five times larger than the Big Island of Hawaii and burying it underground," Peter B. James, a geoscientist at Baylor University, said in a press release. "That's roughly how much unexpected mass we detected."

James is one of a handful of US scientists who announced their discovery in a study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The gravitational force of "whatever it is, wherever it came from," James said, is so great that it drags down the floor of the basin by more than half a mile.

A giant secret below the solar system's oldest, biggest preserved crater

Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island © China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) The South Pole-Aitken Basin is believed to be the site of a horrendous collision that occurred about 500 million years after the moon formed. It's thought to be the largest and oldest intact crater on any planetary body within the solar system.

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The far side of the Moon is the hemisphere of the Moon that always faces away from Earth. The far side ' s terrain is rugged with a multitude of impact craters and relatively few flat lunar maria.

The Moon is an astronomical body that orbits planet Earth and is Earth' s only permanent natural satellite. It is the fifth-largest natural satellite in the Solar System

Whatever formed the basin nearly 4 billion years ago remains a mystery, but the blow was so strong that it likely punched all the way through the moon's crust and tossed part of the lunar mantle - a deeper geologic layer - onto the surface.

For these reasons, geologists are eager to explore the basin to glean clues about the moon's formation and composition. In fact, China recently landed its Chang'e 4 mission there (specifically within a roughly 111-mile-wide crater called Von Kármán) to study part of the basin.

James and his colleagues discovered the anomaly beneath the basin by merging data from two NASA missions at the moon. One is the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which continues to constantly photograph the lunar surface and has led to high-definition surface elevation maps.

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Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
Scientists have discovered a mysterious lump on the moon's far side, and it's 5 times bigger than Hawaii's Big Island
The other mission was the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL), which involved two spacecraft - GRAIL A and GRAIL B - working in tandem to detect variations in the strength of the moon's gravitational field. Larger variations helped tease out information about the moon's core, and subtler ones revealed unseen mineral deposits, asteroid impact sites, and subsurface features.

"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."

If the mass is a metallic asteroid core, it didn't get stuck inside the moon intact; instead, computer simulations suggest it could have spread out as it struck. The researchers think such splattering may have kept the metal floating about 186 miles beneath the crust; otherwise it might have sunk down into the moon's core, which starts about 310 miles deep.

Another explanation is that, following the impact that formed the basin, a huge ocean of metal-rich magma pooled inside of the lunar crust and solidified into a dense slab.

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