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Space rocks form more craters on the moon than we expected

We're still discovering new things about our planet's closest pal.
Mariella Moon, @mariella_moon
October 13, 2016
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NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

We might see the moon every night, but we still don't know everything about our planet's faithful companion. For instance, a team of Arizona State University astronomers have discovered that it has around 33 percent more craters than scientists predicted. The team compared 14,000 before-and-after photos of the same sites taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in different periods of time and found 222 craters over 33 feet wide that they didn't expect. They also found 47,000 new splotches, which are splatter-like stains on the satellite's surface.

Since space rocks crash into the moon more often than we thought, it means that lunar soil also gets kicked up more often. Based on their observation, the researchers now believe that the first inch of the moon's surface changes every 80,000 years, not every million years. This could impact how we date samples taken from the satellite and could change the plans of anyone who wants to mine resources from the rock in the future. Team leader Emerson Speyerer said, however, that if ever you get the chance to fly to the moon someday, you don't have to worry about getting crashed to death by a meteorite:

"If you are an astronaut sitting on the surface, you don't necessarily have to worry about being directly hit by a meteorite, but you would have to worry about all these secondaries (lunar dust and rock getting kicked up after impact), that are coming from kilometres and kilometres away."

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