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Moon's surface gravity mystery solved

Posted on Saturday, 1 June, 2013 | Comment icon 12 comments | News tip by: Waspie_Dwarf


Image credit: NASA

 
NASA's twin GRAIL probes have helped to solve why the Moon's gravity appears to be uneven.

The two spacecraft had orbited the Moon for nine months, recording information about the composition and internal structure. During this time, scientists were able to pinpoint the location of several areas of concentrated mass which are thought to be responsible for the Moon's uneven gravity. The findings will help improve navigation during future missions to the Moon and beyond.

"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," said GRAIL co-investigator Jay Melosh.

"NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission has uncovered the origin of massive invisible regions that make the moon's gravity uneven, a phenomenon that affects the operations of lunar-orbiting spacecraft."

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 Source: NASA


  Discuss: View comments (12)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by shrooma on 31 May, 2013, 23:34
this is what I had in mind waspie- . http://www.physics.ox.ac.uk/history.asp?page=bigghis . (which also has a little piece on the great (unknown!) john mitchell, who's house is at the back of mine!) :-)
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 1 June, 2013, 11:25
this is what I had in mind waspie- Interesting. I didn't know of that experiment. Thanks shrooma.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Merc14 on 1 June, 2013, 16:24
This should be a great aid to all the future missions being planned in the coming century.
Comment icon #6 Posted by RingFenceTheCity on 1 June, 2013, 18:53
The thread title is misleading as GRAVITY itself hasn't been "solved". The pictures are the same as I've seen years ago. Why no information on the possible inner core??
Comment icon #7 Posted by DONTEATUS on 2 June, 2013, 17:37
Gee ? Or as its put "G" Gravity such a fickle thing we know only a bit about it !
Comment icon #8 Posted by lightly on 2 June, 2013, 19:20
pretty interesting though.... gravity may not have been 'solved' .. but it apparently has something to do with mass? I wonder if the question is.. what is it specifically about mass that causes attraction? Maybe that is understood?
Comment icon #9 Posted by RingFenceTheCity on 3 June, 2013, 8:49
pretty interesting though.... gravity may not have been 'solved' .. but it apparently has something to do with mass? I wonder if the question is.. what is it specifically about mass that causes attraction? Maybe that is understood? Err, no, that isn't understood at all. There's no official mechanism for gravity due to the accepted theory being based on 400 year old non-sensical mathematical speculation.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Lex540 on 5 June, 2013, 9:49
gravity is it really the strongest force there is i think not
Comment icon #11 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 5 June, 2013, 14:56
gravity is it really the strongest force there is i think not Actually of the 4 forces of the standard theory, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, weak nuclear and gravity, gravity is the weakest.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 5 June, 2013, 17:00
The thread title is misleading as GRAVITY itself hasn't been "solved". No one said it had. The title specifically refers to SURFACE gravity. The surface gravity, g, of an astronomical or other object is the gravitational acceleration experienced at its surface. The surface gravity may be thought of as the acceleration due to gravity experienced by a hypothetical test particle which is very close to the object's surface and which, in order not to disturb the system, has negligible mass. Source: wikipedia The title is accurate, it's your understanding of it that doesn't seem to be.


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