Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Nov 23rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

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.”

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Pop Life

The pop-up dining trend is freeing culinary imaginations and creating a guerilla version of event dining around Santa Cruz

 

Over Hills and Plains, Riding a White Horse, Bow and Arrows in Hand

Saturday, early morning, the sun enters and radiates the light of Sagittarius. Three hours later, the Sagittarius new moon (0.07 degrees) occurs. “Let food be sought,” is the personality-building keynote. “Food” means experiences; all kinds, levels and types. It also means real food. Sag’s secret is their love of food. Many, if not musicians, are chefs. Some are both. The energies shift from Scorpio’s deep and transformative waters to the “hills and plains of Sagittarius.” Sag is the rider on a white horse, eyes focused on the mountain peaks of Capricorn (Initiation) ahead. Like Scorpio, Sagittarius is also the “disciple.” Adventure, luck, optimism, joy and the beginnings of gratitude are the hallmarks of Sagittarius. Sag is also one of the signs of silence. The battle lines were drawn in Libra and we were asked to choose where we stood. The Nine Tests were given in Scorpio and we emerged “warriors triumphant.” Now in Sag, we are to be the One-Pointed Disciple, riding over the plains on a white horse, bow and arrows in hand, eyes focused on the Path of Return ahead. Sagittarians are one-pointed (symbol of the arrow). Sag asks, “What is my life’s purpose?” This is their quest, from valleys, plains, meadows and hills, eyes aimed always at the mountaintop. Sag emerges from Scorpio’s deep waters, conflict and tests into the open air. Sag’s quest is humanity’s quest. Sag’s quest, however, is always accompanied by music and good food.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of November 21

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Pie Fidelity

A little Thanksgiving help, plus sip and shop locally at the Art, Wine and Gift Bazaar

 

What should be on everyone’s bucket list?

Hang gliding, because you're free as a bird. Jenni, Santa Cruz, Student/Administrative Assistant

 

Soquel Vineyards

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so it’s time to be thinking about the wine you’re going to serve with that special dinner, be it turkey, ham, a roast, or something vegetarian or vegan.

 

The Kitchen

Chef Santos Majano talks beer-friendly food at Discretion Brewery