Table of Contents 4. Although they also posed new questions, the thousands of satellite photographs brought back from the Moon have permitted us to map its surface with greater accuracy than Earth could be mapped a few decades ago. We now have over kg of rocks from nine places on the Moon, rocks that have been analyzed by hundreds of scientists from many different countries. Data from a variety of experiments have revealed much about the Moon’s deep interior. As it turns out, the Moon is truly a whole new world, with rocks and surface features that provide a record of events that occurred during the first billion years of the solar system. This record is not preserved on Earth because all rocks formed during the first million years of Earth’s history were recycled back into the interior. The importance of the Moon in studying the principles of geology is that it provides an insight into the basic mechanics of planetary evolution and events that occurred early in the solar system. Much of the knowledge we have of how planets are born and of the events that transpired during the early part of their histories has been gained from studies of the Moon. At the outset, it is important to note that we assume that the physical and chemical laws that govern nature are constant. For example, we use observations about how chemical reactions occur today, such as the combination of oxygen and hydrogen at specific temperatures and pressures to produce water, and infer that similar conditions produced the same results in the past.
FAQ – Radioactive Age-Dating
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(Hand out Lunar Crater Classification, Crater Density, and Relative Age Dating Principles sheets— see Teacher Resources #2) 1. Before distributing materials, discuss with students how they may know when one lunar feature is older or younger than.
Ancient rift valleys — closeup artist’s concept. Distribution of mare basalts[ edit ] This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. November Learn how and when to remove this template message A global albedo map of the Moon obtained from the Clementine mission. The dark regions are the lunar maria, whereas the lighter regions are the highlands.
There are many common misconceptions concerning the spatial distribution of mare basalts.
#LPSC2018: What the Moon’s craters tell us about Earth’s past climate
The moon is a cold, dry orb whose surface is studded with craters and strewn with rocks and dust called regolith. The moon has no atmosphere. Recent lunar missions indicate that there might be some frozen ice at the poles. The same side of the moon always faces the Earth. The far side of the moon was first observed by humans in when the unmanned Soviet Luna 3 mission orbited the moon and photographed it.
Craters. Craters are by far the most common lunar feature with over , craters of diameters >1 km on the near-side. Even large craters are common, with over craters with diameters of > km being visible from Earth.
How do scientists find the age of planets date samples or planetary time relative age and absolute age? We have rocks from the Moon brought back , meteorites, and rocks that we know came from Mars. We can then use radioactive age dating in order to date the ages of the surfaces when the rocks first formed, i. We also have meteorites from asteroids and can date them, too. These are the surfaces that we can get absolute ages for.
For the others, one can only use relative age dating such as counting craters in order to estimate the age of the surface and the history of the surface. The biggest assumption is that, to first order, the number of asteroids and comets hitting the Earth and the Moon was the same as for Mercury, Venus, and Mars. There is a lot of evidence that this is true. The bottom line is that the more craters one sees, the older the surface is. Why is it important to establish the age of a planet? This can be interpreted in two ways: Based on our study of meteorites and rocks from the Moon, as well as modeling the formation of planets, it is believed pretty much well-established that all of the objects in the Solar System formed very quickly about 4.
Top 10 Amazing Moon Facts
June 15, In this image, each red dot represents one such crater. The new Martian crater atlas is the largest single database ever compiled of impacts on a planet or moon in our solar system, researchers said.
By dating the moon’s many craters, scientists figured out that the moon (and Earth) underwent a Late Heavy Bombardment around 4 billion years ago.
See my copyright notice for fair use practices. The Earth’s lithosphere is broken up into chunks called plates with densities around 3. Oceanic crust is only about 6 kilometers thick. The continental plates are made of another volcanic type of silicates called granite. Continental crust is much thicker than oceanic crust up to 35 kilometers thick. Continental plates are less dense than the oceanic plates. The mantle convection causes the crustal plates to slide next to or under each other, collide against each other, or separate from one another in a process called plate tectonics.
Plate tectonics is the scientific theory that describes this process and how it explains the Earth’s surface geology.
For more examples, see my article: Yet it’s a vacuum there. The thing is that of course it was a sunny day for the astronauts – you tend to forget when you see the black sky.
Tiny impact craters, called “zap pits” are produced by small, high velocity particles and are common on the exposed faces of lunar rocks. This zap pit is 50 microns (2/ inch) in diameter and has a raised rim of glassy material caused by the impact.
It’s no secret that Mars is a beaten and battered planet – astronomers have been peering for centuries at the violent impact craters created by cosmic buckshot pounding its surface over billions of years. But just how beat up is it? Really beat up, according to a University of Colorado Boulder research team that recently finished counting, outlining and cataloging a staggering , impact craters on Mars that are roughly a kilometer or more in diameter.
Scroll down for video: History written on its face: The surface of Mars is covered with thousands upon thousands of crater impacts over the planet’s life As the largest single database ever compiled of impacts on a planet or moon in our solar system, the new information will be of help in dating the ages of particular regions of Mars, said CU-Boulder postdoctoral researcher Stuart Robbins, who led the effort. The new crater atlas also should help researchers better understand the history of water volcanism on Mars through time, as well as the planet’s potential for past habitability by primitive life, he said.
I basically analyzed maps and drew crater rim circles for four years. Cataloging the cratering of Mars and the moon is helping scientists understand a time a few hundred million years after the inner solar system formed, including an event about 3. The asteroids litter the landscape – as they would on Earth except we have a geologically active world Robbins said most of the smaller diameter craters on Mars are younger than the largest craters and form the bulk of the planet’s crater population.
Much of the planet has been ‘resurfaced’ by volcanic and erosional activity, essentially erasing older geological features, including craters. The new database also is expected to help planetary scientists better understand erosion on the planet, said Robbins, who earned his doctoral degree from CU-Boulder’s astrophysical and planetary sciences department. NASA wants to know where the craters are and their particular features both from a safety and research standpoint. Since the most complete databases of lunar craters include only those roughly 10 to 15 kilometers in diameter or larger, and databases on Mercury’s craters contain only those over roughly 20 kilometers in diameter, it is difficult to compare them with the Martian crater database, said Robbins.
NASA to pay private space companies for moon rides
Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, v. Ottawa Dominion Observatory Contributions, v. Geological Survey of Canada Bulletin, v. Proceedings Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 20th, pp. New York Academy of Sciences, Annals, v. Contributions to Minerology and Petrology, v.
The predominant method is through counting and analyzing the craters that exist withing other craters. Most impacts were formed during the heavy bombardment period, around 4 billion years ago, not long after the Moon’s own formation. On the near s.
For example, at Tycho, Copernicus, and Aristarchus craters, CSFDs of impact melt deposits give significantly younger relative and absolute model ages AMAs than impact ejecta blankets, although these two units formed during one impact event, and would ideally yield coeval ages at the resolution of the CSFD technique.
We investigated the effects of contrasting target properties on CSFDs and their resultant relative and absolute model ages for coeval lunar impact melt and ejecta units. We counted craters with diameters through the transition from strength- to gravity-scaling on two large impact melt deposits at Tycho and King craters, and we used pi-group scaling calculations to model the effects of differing target properties on final crater diameters for five different theoretical lunar targets.
The CSFDs generated from the pi-group scaling calculations show that targets with higher density and effective strength yield smaller crater diameters than weaker targets, such that the relative ages of the former are lower relative to the latter. Consequently, coeval impact melt and ejecta units will have discrepant apparent ages. Target property differences also affect the resulting slope of the CSFD, with stronger targets exhibiting shallower slopes, so that the final crater diameters may differ more greatly at smaller diameters.
Besides their application to age dating, the CSFDs may provide additional information about the characteristics of the target. For example, the transition diameter from strength- to gravity-scaling could provide a tool for investigating the relative strengths of different geologic units.
Quick Views of Big Advances Absolute Ages of Mercury’s Surface Heavily cratered terrains—the oldest surfaces—on Mercury are the focus of new studies with cratering statistics that aim to bracket the bombardment and volcanic histories of the closest planet to the Sun. One of the regions studied by Marchi and colleagues is the northern heavily cratered terrains, outlined by the black line in the crater areal density map on the left where crater density is the number of craters at least 25 kilometers in diameter per , square kilometers.
Previous studies with older data found the most heavily cratered terrains had fewer craters radiometric dating of the Apollo lunar samples and lunar meteorites. Tweaking the lunar model for the differences in impact velocities, gravitational focusing, and crater scaling relationships at Mercury compared to the Moon, Marchi and coauthors find that the oldest surfaces on Mercury formed 4.
Their work also indicates that widespread volcanism on Mercury decreased rapidly during the time of the Late Heavy Bombardment.
Lunar Crater Rays Point to a New Lunar Time Scale Optical maturity maps of rays, derived from Clementine multispectral data and calibrated with lunar sample analyses, provide a new way to define the two youngest time stratigraphic units on the Moon. Written by Linda M. V. Martel.
What the Moon’s craters tell us about Earth’s past climate You might be surprised to learn that studying craters on the Moon can tell us about ancient Earth. Craters punctuate the surface of the Moon, while the surface of the Earth lacks them. Craters form when asteroids impact planetary bodies. The rate at which craters form depends on the availability of asteroids that hit a planetary body. Earth and the Moon exist in the same space in the solar system, so have been exposed to the same impactor population.
Was the Earth simply lucky enough to have escaped being hit by asteroids that ravaged the surface of the moon? Since early in the space program, scientists have recognized that this difference has to do with Earth’s active geology. Earth has weather and tectonics that act to destroy impact craters. But the story may not be so simple.
NASA to pay private space companies for moon rides – Science Magazine
Several Christian ministries promote the idea that the earth is less than 10, years old, which they say comes from the Bible. In reality, the Bible makes no claim as to the age of the earth, although it does establish a minimum age. This page examines some of the history of the controversy—what the Bible actually says and does not say—and the scientific evidence surrounding the age of the earth.
Age of the earth according to the Bible The following is a summary of the biblical evidence presented on this website regarding the age of the earth.
– Lunar craters result from things hitting the Moon. When things hit the Moon, they are usually going so fast that they are destroyed and a crater about 10 times the size of the impactor is made. Craters on the moon usually are circular with a raised edge.
In the absence of either an atmosphere or a magnetic field,… Distinctive features The Moon is a spherical rocky body, probably with a small metallic core, revolving around Earth in a slightly eccentric orbit at a mean distance of about , km , miles. Its equatorial radius is 1, km 1, miles , and its shape is slightly flattened in a such a way that it bulges a little in the direction of Earth. Its mass distribution is not uniform—the centre of mass is displaced about 2 km 1. The Moon has no global magnetic field like that of Earth, but some of its surface rocks have remanent magnetism , which indicates one or more periods of magnetic activity in the past.
The Moon presently has very slight seismic activity and little heat flow from the interior, indications that most internal activity ceased long ago. This was followed hundreds of millions of years later by a second episode of heating—this time from internal radioactivity—which resulted in volcanic outpourings of lava. In the absence of an atmospheric shield to protect the surface from bombardment, countless bodies ranging in size from asteroid s to tiny particles have struck and cratered the Moon.
This has formed a debris layer, or regolith , consisting of rock fragments of all sizes down to the finest dust. In the ancient past the largest impacts made great basins, some of which were later partly filled by the enormous lava floods. These great dark plains, called maria singular mare [Latin: The mascons are regions where particularly dense lavas rose up from the mantle and flooded into basins. Lunar mountains, located mostly along the rims of ancient basins, are tall but not steep or sharp-peaked, because all lunar landforms have been eroded by the unending rain of impacts.
For additional orbital and physical data, see the table. Principal characteristics of the Earth-Moon system In addition to its nearness to Earth , the Moon is relatively massive compared with the planet—the ratio of their masses is much larger than those of other natural satellites to the planets that they orbit.
Moon When was the last time you ever stopped to have a good think about the giant natural satellite that orbits our planet? The Moon is something that has fascinated us for centuries, but by and large, we have now come to accept it as something that is commonplace within our night sky. Most of us will glance up at it now and again and maybe comment on how bright the Moon or what phase the Moon is currently in. The real question is when was the last time you really thought about the Moon?
What is going on under that familiar crater-scarred surface? The lower left part of the image shows a portion of the Moon visible from Earth while the upper right area shows the heavily cratered lunar far side.
With the current plethora of meter-scale resolution images acquired of the lunar and Martian surfaces, small craters have been widely used to derive model ages .
Its composition is not well defined, but is probably metallic iron alloyed with a small amount of sulfur and nickel; analyses of the Moon’s time-variable rotation suggest that it is at least partly molten. Geology of the Moon and Moon rocks Topography of the Moon The topography of the Moon has been measured with laser altimetry and stereo image analysis. Volcanic features Lunar nearside with major maria and craters labeled The dark and relatively featureless lunar plains, clearly seen with the naked eye, are called maria Latin for"seas”; singular mare , as they were once believed to be filled with water;  they are now known to be vast solidified pools of ancient basaltic lava.
Although similar to terrestrial basalts, lunar basalts have more iron and no minerals altered by water. Several geologic provinces containing shield volcanoes and volcanic domes are found within the near side “maria”. This raises the possibility of a much warmer lunar mantle than previously believed, at least on the near side where the deep crust is substantially warmer due to the greater concentration of radioactive elements.
They have been radiometrically dated to having formed 4.