The moon’s surface is completely turned over in around 80,000 years – not millions of years as once thought.
Comparing 14,000 pairs of ‘before and after’ photos snapped over seven years by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a team from Arizona State University and Cornell University in the US found 222 new impact craters with diameter more than 10 metres – some 33% more than predictions – along with jets of freshly uncovered material.
Not only does this relatively rapid turnover, published in Nature, mean some of the moon’s surface features are much younger than we suspect, but any structures we might one day build on the moon will need extra protection.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.