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NASA scientists discover fresh crater on Moon's surface

NASA has discovered a fresh crater on the Moon's surface.

world Updated: Aug 11, 2010 17:01 IST

NASA has discovered a fresh crater on the Moon's surface.

The impact occurred sometime between an image of the region taken by the Apollo program in 1971 and an image recently taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is a spacecraft that is taking large amounts of data on the Moon's terrain and mineralogy, as well as taking pictures of the Apollo landers and astronaut footsteps.

According to Discovery News, the crater is ten meters across, suggesting that the impactor was roughly a meter in size. It will be visible for millions, if not billions of years to come, provided it doesn't get "erased" by another impactor.

By searching for more such craters, lunar scientists can get a better handle on the current impact rate in our neighbourhood of the solar system.

Not only will that give us an idea of how many rocks are headed for Earth, but an idea of what chances a future human base might have of running into trouble.

The Moon has less of a gravitational pull on incoming rocks as compared to Earth. However, its atmosphere doesn't burn up smaller impactors as would happen on Earth.

First Published: Aug 11, 2010 16:59 IST