An asteroid collision moved the moon’s north and south poles about 186 miles over a period of 4.25 billion years.

In a new study, scientists reveal that ancient collisions with asteroids moved the moon’s north and south arches about 186 miles.

A team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland used computer simulations to erase thousands of craters from the moon’s surface — as if they were going back in time to 4.25 billion years when craters didn’t exist.

Their work led them to discover that asteroid collisions caused the poles to ‘wander’ by 10 degrees in latitude, or about 186 miles. To put that in perspective, the moon’s total diameter is 2,159 miles.

These wandering plumes could teach scientists more about the poles, which are considered more valuable regions because of the frozen water that has been discovered there.

In a new study, scientists reveal that ancient collisions with asteroids moved the moon’s north and south arches about 186 miles.

A team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland used a computer simulation

A team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland used computer simulations to “erase” thousands of craters from the surface of the Moon. GRAIL GRGM1200B (left) and GRGM1200B gravity model with 5,197 crater gravity anomalies (right) removed

Their work led them to discover that asteroid collisions caused the poles to 'wander' by 10 degrees in latitude, or about 186 miles.  To put that in perspective, the total diameter of the moon is 2,159 miles

Their work led them to discover that asteroid collisions caused the poles to ‘wander’ by 10 degrees in latitude, or about 186 miles. To put that in perspective, the total diameter of the moon is 2,159 miles

“Based on the history of the moon’s craters, it appears that polar wandering was moderate enough for water near the poles to remain in the shadows and enjoy stable conditions above billions,” Vishnu Viswanathan, a NASA Godard scientist who led the study, said in a statement. of years.

Asteroid impacts etch mass and leave depressions in the surface, or pockets of lower mass, but the Moon will reorient itself to bring those pockets toward the poles — bringing regions of higher mass toward the equator by centrifugal force.

As noted by NASA in a blog post, this is the same force that causes pizza dough to expand when tossed by a chef and swirled in the air.

‘If you look at the moon with all these craters, you can see the ones in the gravitational field data,’ said David Smith, principal investigator for the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter. I thought, “Why can’t I just take one of those pits and suck it in, and completely remove the signature?”

Top left: Hammer projection map centered at 270° E showing the irregular distribution of craters 20–150 km in diameter.  Above, right: the lunar gravitational anomaly map expanded to the order of 650

Top left: Hammer projection map centered at 270° E showing the irregular distribution of craters 20–150 km in diameter. Above, right: the lunar gravitational anomaly map expanded to the order of 650

The study comes as NASA's massive, trapped Artemis 1 rocket (above) faces a freeze test this week and a possible launch attempt - pending multiple conditions - during a 70-minute window on September 27 with backup in October.  2

The study comes as NASA’s massive, trapped Artemis 1 rocket (above) faces a freeze test this week and a possible launch attempt – pending multiple conditions – during a 70-minute window on September 27 with backup in October. 2

Chinese Artemis 3 and Chang'e-7 identify sites near the Shackleton, Haworth and Nobile craters as potential subsidence zones (areas circled in red above).  These areas of overlap are home to shaded craters that can trap water ice

Chinese Artemis 3 and Chang’e-7 identify sites near the Shackleton, Haworth and Nobile craters as potential subsidence zones (areas circled in red above). These areas of overlap are home to shaded craters that can trap water ice

For their study, published in the Planetary Science Journal, Viswanathan, Smith and colleagues worked on about 5,200 craters ranging in width from 12 miles to 746 miles.

They designed computer models to take the coordinates and display the pits to determine their gravitational signatures.

Then they ran simulations that removed the gravitational signals – turning back the clock to 4.25 billion years ago.

The study comes as NASA’s massive, trapped Artemis 1 rocket faces a freeze test this week and a possible launch attempt – pending multiple conditions – during a 70-minute window on September 27 with backup on October 2. These dates don’t expire, NASA won’t be able to try again until October 17th at the earliest.

In addition, the space agency recently called on China to be ‘open and transparent’ in its lunar missions after revealing overlap between the two countries at potential landing sites near the south pole region of the lunar surface.

We will continue to share our plans with the world as much as we can, and we hope that other countries will share theirs with us. We encourage transparency and the peaceful exploration of space, in accordance with the principles of the Artemis Agreements and the Outer Space Treaty.

China’s Artemis 3 and Chang’e-7 identify sites near the Shackleton, Haworth and Nobile craters as potential landing areas. These areas of overlap are home to shaded craters that can trap water ice.

“When exploring the moon, we will follow what we have made clear in the Artemis agreements – that we will be transparent about all activities, operate in a safe and responsible manner, and avoid harmful interference,” NASA added.

“There are a few things we haven’t considered yet, but one thing we wanted to point out is those little pits that people have been ignoring, they really matter, so that’s the main point here,” Sander said. Goossens, a Goddard planetary scientist who took part in the study.

Although researchers studying polar wanderings have removed craters from the record, they have removed only a few dozen of the largest collisions.

“People assumed the little pits were negligible,” Viswanathan said. “They are hardly mentioned individually, but collectively they have a huge impact.”

NASA added:

“When exploring the moon, we will follow what we have made clear in the Artemis agreements – that we will be transparent about all activities, operate in a safe and responsible manner, and avoid harmful interference,” NASA added.

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