Gigantic Hidden Structure Found Beneath the Moon’s Surface

Imagine burying a metal pile five times the size of the Big Island of Hawaii underground. That’s what scientists believe is hiding under the Moon!

The South Pole-Aitken Basin: A Lunar Hot Spot

The Moon has this massive crater, the South Pole-Aitken Basin, located on its far side. It’s one of the largest craters in our Solar System and a hot spot for lunar investigations.

India’s first lunar lander is targeting this area, and NASA’s Artemis 3 mission plans to land humans at the South Pole.

But the most exciting news? Astronomers discovered a huge mass anomaly under this crater in 2019.

The Colossal Hidden Mass

This structure is colossal—around 2.18 billion billion kilograms and stretching over 300 kilometers deep. Scientists think it might be metal left over from the asteroid that created the crater.

Peter B. James from Baylor University, the lead author, explained, “Imagine taking a pile of metal five times larger than the Big Island of Hawaii and burying it underground. That’s roughly the unexpected mass we detected.”

Discovering the Anomaly

Using data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, which measures tiny changes in the Moon’s gravitational field, the team found this surprising mass.

It’s so heavy that it pulls the basin floor down by almost a kilometer! The crater itself is about 2,500 kilometers in diameter, so this is a big deal.

Combining this data with lunar topography info from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, they uncovered this giant mass hundreds of miles below the basin.

One theory is that the metal from the asteroid that created the crater is still embedded in the Moon’s mantle. Another idea suggests dense oxides formed as the Moon’s magma ocean cooled and solidified.

Why the South Pole-Aitken Basin Matters

This discovery makes the South Pole-Aitken Basin a fascinating region for space agencies. It can help us understand the Moon’s interior composition and its history.

Plus, it’s a great place to study what happens when a huge asteroid smashes into a rocky planet.

More Mysteries on the Moon

But wait, there’s more! Just last month, astronomers found another massive heat-emitting structure under the Compton and Belkovich craters on the far side of the Moon.

This study was published in Geophysical Research Letters, adding another layer of mystery to our celestial neighbor.