NASA scientists stated the moon's surface has been receiving massive impacts from numerous asteroids and comets.
Latest information obtained from the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission reveal the nearly crushed lunar interior just below the surface. In conclusion, planet Earth as well as other terrestrial planets in the Solar System may have also endured the attacks of space rocks.
Data gathered came from NASA's twin spacecraft Ebb and Flow which used the gravity mapping method. It began orbiting around the moon earlier this year. The scientific discovery was presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco on Wednesday.
"It was known that planets were battered by impacts but nobody had envisioned that the Moon's crust was so beaten up. This is a really big surprise and is going to cause a lot of people to think about what this means for planetary evolution," Maria Zuber, Principal Investigator for the GRAIL mission, declared.
GRAIL's gathered data and recent studies suggest that the space rocks attack may have started much longer than initially estimated. Different blasts possibly equaled the materials that created some of the largest craters on the Moon.
"If you look at surface of the Moon and how heavily cratered it is, that tells us that all terrestrial planets looked that way. But Earth's history is not preserved because of atmospheric and erosional processes on our planet. So, if we want to study those early periods, we need to go somewhere else and the Moon is the perfect place for that," Zuber stated.
In addition to the successful GRAIL discoveries, Zuber noted that the major accomplishment was done with the excellent performance of NASA's twin spacecrafts. Ebb and Flow is the first NASA spacecraft committed to this quest in space.
The washing machine-sized spacecrafts flew in a pattern orbiting around 56km above the moon's surface as they gathered data for the GRAIL mission. Their locations allowed them to examine deeper into the moon. The mission is scheduled to end later this month.