Life Science The mystery mass that’s been discovered on the moon

The mystery mass that’s been discovered on the moon

Moon mystery
There's something mysterious on the moon, and it's got scientists excited. Photo: Getty
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There’s something lurking on the dark side of the moon, and while it’s puzzling scientists, it’s also exciting them.

With the help of NASA, a team of researchers has uncovered a 300-kilometre-deep mass on the moon’s less-explored far side, which they believe could help solve clues about its history.

The mystery mass is most likely related to the relatively nearby South Pole-Aitken basin – the solar system’s largest preserved crater – and learning more about it could reveal the impact that created the crater.

It was discovered when the researchers combined and analysed data from two sets of NASA outlets: The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory.

The South-Pole Aitken crater (dark blue). The dotted line inside shows the mystery mass.Photo: NASA

This analysis, tracked over time, revealed the existence of the mass.

So what does it mean for lunar science?

Researchers have come up with two theories as to how the mass came to be.

One relates to whatever it was that made the South Pole-Aitken creator. It could just be an offshoot from the cooling of the moon’s surface during the impact, which forced materials to render together under the surface during the process.

The second thinking is that it could point to a concentration of metal underneath the surface, again left over from whatever caused the impact.

Because of the sheer size of the South Pole-Aitken creator, and its blurry beginnings, the possibility of finding out more about what caused it holds great intrigue for space scientists.

It’s hoped answers won’t be too far off, as space exploration rivalry heats up.

Earlier this year, China’s Chang’e 4 landed on the far side of the moon, and the US is forever building up NASA to return to the lunar surface.

Even Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is preparing to enter outer space.

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