NASA Solves The Mystery Behind Moon’s Gravitational Field Using Grail’s Data [News]

The American space agency, NASA, recently released the report of the Grail mission, which lasted nin...

The American space agency, NASA, recently released the report of the Grail mission, which lasted nine months in lunar research. Scientists have unraveled the mysteries of the gravitational force of the Earth's natural satellite, the moon, which might have formed from the impact of asteroids and comets on its surface.

NASA Solves The Mystery Behind Moon’s Gravitational Field Using Grail’s Data [News]

NASA believes that understanding the phenomenon makes it possible to increase the accuracy of satellites navigation that end up being affected by gravitational variations. The researchers also point out that knowing the structure of the Moon is essential to understand the changes since its formation of about 4.5 billion years.

The discovery proves relevant research on terrestrial geology. Scientists believe the moon arose after the collision of a gigantic object with the Earth, which caused pieces of material expelled from the planet have formed the Moon. With this understanding about the mass concentrations on the moon could help scientists better understand the formation of tectonic plates, for example, since the Earth would have suffered similar impacts in its history.

Grail: Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory

Since the 60's, scientists know that the moon has about one-sixth gravity on the Earth surface because the atmosphere is different from our planet earth. It is also known that the gravity on moon varies from one region to another.

NASA Solves The Mystery Behind Moon’s Gravitational Field Using Grail’s Data [News] 2

All that is known so far is that there were areas with higher concentration of mass, which changed the gravitational force. The only problem is that, until then, no one knew the reason for the existence of these areas and it was not even possible to identify them.

GRAIL data confirm that lunar mascons were generated when large asteroids or comets impacted the ancient moon, when its interior was much hotter than it is now. We believe the data from GRAIL show how the moon's light crust and dense mantle combined with the shock of a large impact to create the distinctive pattern of density anomalies that we recognize as mascons.
-Jay Melosh, GRAIL co-investigator at Purdue University.

The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (Grail) studied the structure of the star for nine months and came to the conclusion that the impact of asteroids and comets were the reason to the current variations in gravity.

Grail’s twin spacecraft which remained in lunar orbit studying the surface with equipment designed with a focus on the analysis of gravitational forces. With the mapping of mass concentrations, it revealed the exact location of the densest areas, something that traditional equipment could not find.

[Via]

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