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The Lunar Lowdown

 

moonSLUG REPORT > UCSC researchers unveil new theory about the moon

Pink Floyd may have sung about the dark side of the moon, but UC Santa Cruz planetary scientists have made an important new insight into the far side of the moon.

The lunar hemisphere that is permanently turned away from Earth is dramatically different from the part facing the planet. Its crust is much thicker than the near side’s, and the terrain is more jagged and varied. UCSC professor of Earth and planetary sciences Erik Asphaug explained that the new study theorizes that the moon was at some point struck by a smaller piece of matter that created the upset in the far side’s surface.

This goes along with the “giant impact” model, which puts forth the idea that the moon was originally created by the debris of a Mars-sized object striking Earth. The smaller body that later struck the moon may have been another piece of debris from the first collision.

"Our model works well with models of the moon-forming giant impact, which predict there should be massive debris left in orbit about the Earth, besides the moon itself,” said Asphaug in an Aug. 1 press release from UCSC. “It agrees with what is known about the dynamical stability of such a system, the timing of the cooling of the moon, and the ages of lunar rocks."

Ausphaug coauthored a paper with UCSC postdoctoral researcher Martin Jutzi that will appear in the Aug. 4 issue of Nature. Jutzi said in the press release that it’s no coincidence that the far side is the part with craters, but that it has to do with balance.

"The collision could have happened anywhere on the moon," he said. "The final body is lopsided and would reorient so that one side faces Earth."

The new study challenges a theory, previously put out by UCSC colleagues Ian Garrick-Bethell and Francis Nimmo, that the surface of the moon has more to do with tidal forces than anything else. In the press release, Nimmo said he still wasn’t sure what to believe, but praised Asphaug and Jutzi’s “elegant” article. He also stressed that the absolute truth is still a mystery.

"The fact that the near side of the moon looks so different to the far side has been a puzzle since the dawn of the space age, perhaps second only to the origin of the moon itself," he said. "As further spacecraft data (and, hopefully, lunar samples) are obtained, which of these two hypotheses is more nearly correct will become clear.”

 

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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