Asteroid impacts have MOVED the moon’s north and south poles about 186 miles over 4.25 billion years

Ancient collisions with asteroids actually moved the moon’s north and south poles about 300 km, scientists have revealed in a new study.

A team from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland has used computer simulations to ‘erase’ thousands of craters from the lunar surface – as if they traveled back in time to 4.25 billion years ago, when craters did not exist.

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

These wandering poles can learn about the poles, which are considered more prized regions due to the frozen water that has been discovered there.

Ancient asteroid collisions actually moved the northern and southern tips of the moon about 186 miles, scientists have revealed in a new study

Ancient asteroid collisions actually moved the northern and southern tips of the moon about 186 miles, scientists have revealed in a new study

A team from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland has used computer simulations to “erase” thousands of craters from the lunar surface. GRAIL gravity model GRGM1200B (left) and GRGM1200B with 5197 crater gravity anomalies removed (right)

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

Vishnu Viswanathan, a NASA Godard scientist who led the study, said in a statement: “Based on the history of the cratering of the Moon, polar wander appears to have been moderate enough that the water near the poles remained in the shadows and enjoyed stable conditions over billions of years.’

Asteroid impacts hollow out the mass and leave depressions on the surface, or pockets of lower mass, but the moon would reorient to bring these pockets towards the poles – while returning the higher mass areas towards the equator via the centrifugal force.

As NASA notes in a blog post, it’s the same force that causes pizza dough to stretch when a chef throws and spins it through the air.

“If you look at the Moon with all these craters on it, you can see them in the gravity field data,” said David Smith, principal investigator of the Lunar Orbiter laser altimeter. “I thought, ‘Why can’t I just take one of these craters and suck it out, completely remove the signature?’

Above left: Hammer projection map centered on 270°E showing the non-uniform distribution of craters 20 to 150 km in diameter.  Above right: Map of lunar gravity anomalies extended to degree and order 650

Above left: Hammer projection map centered on 270°E showing the non-uniform distribution of craters 20 to 150 km in diameter. Above right: Map of lunar gravity anomalies extended to degree and order 650

The study comes at a time when NASA's beleaguered Artemis 1 mega-rocket (above) faces a cryogenic test this week and a possible launch attempt - pending several conditions - during a 70-minute window on September 27 with a backup on October 27.  2

The study comes at a time when NASA’s beleaguered Artemis 1 mega-rocket (above) faces a cryogenic test this week and a possible launch attempt – pending several conditions – during a 70-minute window on September 27 with a backup on October 27. 2

Both Artemis 3 and China's Chang'e-7 identify sites near Shackleton, Haworth and Nobile craters as potential landing zones (areas circled in red, above).  These thrust areas host shadowed craters that can trap water ice

Both Artemis 3 and China’s Chang’e-7 identify sites near Shackleton, Haworth and Nobile craters as potential landing zones (areas circled in red, above). These thrust areas host shadowed craters that can trap water ice

For their study which was published in the Planetary Science Journal, Viswanathan, Smith and their colleagues worked with about 5,200 craters ranging in size from 12 miles to 746 miles wide.

They designed computer models to take the coordinates and width of craters to locate their gravitational signatures.

Then they ran simulations that removed the gravitational signatures – essentially bringing the clock back to 4.25 billion years.

The study comes at a time when NASA’s beleaguered Artemis 1 mega-rocket faces a cryogenic test this week and a possible launch attempt – pending multiple conditions – during a 70-minute window. on September 27 with a backup on October 2. If those dates don’t happen, NASA won’t be able to try again until October 17 at the earliest.

Additionally, the space agency recently called on China to be “open and transparent” with its lunar missions following the revelation of an overlap between the two countries in potential landing sites near the south pole region of China. the lunar surface.

“We will continue to share our plans with the world as much as we can and hope other nations will share their plans with us. We encourage transparency and the peaceful exploration of space, in accordance with the principles of the Artemis Accords and the Outer Space Treaty,” the US space agency previously told DailyMail.com.

Artemis 3 and Chang’e-7 in China both identify sites near Shackleton, Haworth and Nobile craters as potential landing zones. These thrust areas host shadowed craters that can trap water ice.

“In exploring the Moon, we will follow what we set out in the Artemis Accords – that we will be transparent about all activities, operate safely and responsibly, 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 these little craters that people have been overlooking, they really matter, so that’s the main point here,” Sander said. Goossens, a Goddard planetary scientist who participated in the study.

Although researchers who study polar wander have removed craters from the record, they have only removed a few dozen of the larger impacts.

“People assumed the small craters were negligible,” Viswanathan said. “They are negligible individually, but collectively they have a big effect.”

“In exploring the Moon, we will follow what we set out in the Artemis Accords – that we will be transparent about all activities, operate safely and responsibly, and avoid harmful interference,” NASA added.

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