Since tonight will be the pinnacle of the moon’s closest approach to Earth, called a supermoon, it’s
only appropriate to discuss some of the most recent news coming from Australia.
A team of researchers who hail from Curtin University in Western Australia, Will Featherstone, Christian Hirt, and Michael Kuhn, have
recently uncovered more than 280 previously unknown craters on the moon. Some of these are actually located on the “dark” side. I want to note that the “dark”
side technically does not exist. The moon has no actual dark side. It’s just called this because the side is elusive to us (due to the moon being tidally
locked to Earth, with both the Earth and the Moon always showing the same face to one another). This becomes problematic from a satellite standpoint, as our
communication with any satellite located in that area is cut off.
In order to unveil these hidden craters, the team used
computer models to map out crater candidates based on satellite-collected gravity and topography data (seen in the images attached here), acquired by
NASA’s GRAIL mission (two of the satellites from that mission, Ebb and Flow, were sent plunging into lunar terrain back in December. You can find more
information linked below). Using said data, they were able to digitally remove some of the regional features of the moon, helping to discern several craters
that would otherwise be obscured from our view.
According to the team, about 66 of the new craters were visible from a gravity and a
topographic perspective. Many more may be revealed later, while other “potential craters” may not be substantiated in the long run. This research will soon be
published in the “Journal of Geophysical Research — Planets,” stay tuned.
of Moon’s hidden craters:”
Image Credit: Curtin University/W. E. Featherstone et al — Source: