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An ancient collision between the moon and a dwarf planet left half the far side of the lunar surface heavily-cratered, scientists have suggested.
The new research suggests that a collision between the moon and an object 'slightly smaller' than a dwarf planet in the solar system's early stages is the best explanation.
Difference - Earth-facing - Near-side - Moon - Side
The difference between the Earth-facing near-side of the moon and the scarred far side of the moon has been debated among scientists since the Apollo era.
Previously, scientists had suggested that Earth had two moons billions of years ago which merged - creating the uneven surface of the far side that exists today.
Measurements - Gravity - Recovery - Interior - Laboratory
Measurements made by the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission in 2012 gave scientists more information about the structure of the Moon.
These included how the moon's far side has a crust which is thicker than the near side and includes an extra layer of material while the near side boasts a thinner and smoother crust.
Gravity - Data - GRAIL - Insight - Structure
'The detailed gravity data obtained by GRAIL has given new insight into the structure of the lunar crust underneath the surface,' said Dr Meng Hua Zhu, a co-author of the study.
Dr Hua Zhu and his team ran 360 computer simulations of different scenarios where impacts with the moon could result in the crust of today's moon.
Solution - Body - Miles - Kilometers - Diameter
They found the best solution is a large body, about 480 miles (780 kilometers) in diameter, smacking into the near side of the moon at 14,000 miles per hour (22,500 kilometers per hour)....
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