Moon gets a facelift every 81000 years, says study

The surface of the Moon is not a dead place but much more dynamic than previously thought. Latest images of the moon’s North Pole region taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or LROC reveals that the moon has 33% more craters than what scientists have expected.

Every scar, every crater has a story, and this means the Lunar surface has quite a story for scientists to infer. More than 222 new craters have been discovered by scientists using the cameras aboard the NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Among the craters are some which are formed by powerful impacts of space rocks characterised by the sharpness of the craters thrown out.

The latest findings will help scientists pinpoint the ages of younger surfaces on the only satellite of Earth. Though not as Mars or unsolved as Jupiter’s moon Europa it does tell a lot about the age of rocky planets like the Earth. By comparing the rate of crater formation on the moon to help us understand the ages of other rocky bodies from where it is not possible to get samples.

Though we know about the ancient craters of the moon, we still know very little about contemporary and more recent craters. One of the reasons is as you try to map and study fresh craters which are around the 50 million marks, they become smaller and smaller and will require powerful cameras to achieve this. Just how difficult this task is can be gauged by the fact that comparing the images taken by Apollo mission and the images taken by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2009 led to the discovery of 5 new craters from a pair of 44 images.

To quicken the comparison process, scientists have designed a computer program which will help to compare 14,092 before-and-after snapshots of random spots. However, it comprised only 6.6% of the lunar surface. To compare a pair of pictures generally, will take about eight hours. The same process is accomplished by the computer program in three to five minutes.

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