Colonizing the Moon just got a lot more dangerous


174 Views

Bad news, would-be lunar colonists: that dusty, airless space rock you dream of escaping to is apparently swarming with deadly projectiles.

According to anew study, Earth’s nearest neighbor is being bombarded by small, fast-moving chunks of debris, at a rate 100 times faster than impact models previously estimated.

That startling discovery came about through an analysis of images captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a NASA-led mission that’s been studying the Moon from orbit since 2009.

Over the past seven years, the LRO’s cameras have collected about a million high-resolution images of the Moon. While most of these photos do not overlap, about 14,000 of them do, allowing for detailed before-and-after comparisons.

Writing today in Nature, researchers at Arizona State and Cornell Universities used the LRO’s image banks to identify 222 freshly-formed impact craters.

Ranging in size from a few feet to over 140 feet wide, these craters tell the story of a world that’s constantly being reworked by violent encounters with rogue objects in the cosmic neighborhood.“It’s just something that’s happening all the time,” lead study author Emerson Speyerer told Nature News.

Make a Comment
Make a Comment