Largest known crater of solar system could help in Moon’s study

Red areas on the topographic image indicate high elevations, and blue or purple areas indicate low elevation. The South Pole Aitken basin could hold clues about the composition of the Moon’s mantle. (Credit: NASA/GSFC)
Red areas on the topographic image indicate high elevations, and blue or purple areas indicate low elevation. The South Pole Aitken basin could hold clues about the composition of the Moon’s mantle. (Credit: NASA/GSFC)

Main Points:

One of the largest known craters in the solar system on Moon, i.e. 2,500 mile crater that was formed by a huge impact about 4 billion years ago could help scientists in studying the Moon’s lower crust and mantle.

Published in:

Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets

Study Further:

Crater:

Crater refers to a bowl-shaped hole on the surface of the Moon or a planet caused by the impact of a meteorite. You can also say that it is a large hole in the ground or a surface caused by an explosion.

Crust:

Crust refers to the thin outermost layer that varies in thickness and has different composition than the interior.

Mantle:

Mantle refers to the central part of the planet that lies between crust and core.

Present Study:

In the present study, scientists used data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper that flew aboard India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter and found a diverse range of minerals in the subsurface of the giant South Pole Aitken basin, which is the largest impact basin on the Moon. Scientists used the spectra of reflected light to get information about the composition of rocks. They found that some crater peaks have more amount of magnesium than others.

They are of opinion that these minerals could be the result of giant impact that occurred about 4 billion years ago and if it is true than this South Pole Aitken (SPA) basin could give important information about the Moon’s interior structure, and evolution of its crust and mantle.

Research Suggestions:

“If you do the impact scaling from models, [the SPA impact] should have excavated into the mantle,” Brown graduate student Dan Moriarty, said. “We think the upper mantle is rich in a mineral called olivine, but we don’t see much olivine in the basin. That’s one of the big mysteries about the South Pole Aitken basin. So one of the things we’re trying to figure out is how deep did the impact really excavate. If it melted and excavated any material from the mantle, why aren’t we seeing it?”

You can do research on this question.

Sources:

Ancient crater may be clue to Moon’s mantle – Brown University (http://goo.gl/ZZCs01)

D. P. Moriarty et al. (2013). Compositional heterogeneity of central peaks within the South Pole-Aitken Basin Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets DOI: 10.1002/2013JE004376

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is a sort of entrepreneur. He is the author of "Color Atlas of Statistics", and the owner of an Android game "Faily Rocket."