A recent study published in the British journal Nature Geoscience claims ‘Man in Moon’ was caused by an asteroid impact the size of Austria. The flattened area on the surface of the moon, scientifically called Procellarum basin, covers a section of 1,800 miles.
Scientists have finally found an explanation for the creation of the Procellarum basin on the surface of the moon. ‘Man in Moon’ as it is popularly known, was linked to a powerful impact caused by an asteroid the size of Austria.
Further studies have shown that scientists have solid reasons to believe the 1800-mile-wide flattened surface was caused by a violent collision with an asteroid. They have compared samples taken from the nearest and the farthest sides of the moon and they have reached the conclusion that the two are compositionally distinct. As in the case of many asteroid collisions, the area surrounding the Procellarum basin has a low level of calcium pyroxene.
Based on the information gathered by Japanese moon exploration orbiters, the asteroid’s size could be compared to the surface of Austria. Researchers estimate that it has 180 miles in diameter and that the impact occurred 3.9 billion years ago. The impact led to the creation of a lunar dichotomy because the two sides are very different from one another.
Junichi Watanabe, astronomy professor at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, acknowledged the validity of the recent study. In his opinion, this is the best explanation that was offered so far for the ‘Man in Moon’ phenomenon. The findings of the study are very important because they help “unravel the mysteries of the moon’s history”.