Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Moon News .




MOON DAILY
Young Volcanoes on the Moon
by Staff Writers
Huntsville AL (SPX) Nov 26, 2014


On the Moon, it is possible to estimate the age of a landscape by counting its craters. The Moon is pelted by a slow drizzle of meteoroids that pepper its surface with impact scars. The older a landscape, the more craters it contains. A new ScienceCast video explores the mystery of recent lunar volcanism.

Back in 1971, Apollo 15 astronauts orbiting the Moon photographed something very odd. Researchers called it "Ina," and it looked like the aftermath of a volcanic eruption. There's nothing odd about volcanoes on the Moon, per se. Much of the Moon's ancient surface is covered with hardened lava.

The main features of the "Man in the Moon," in fact, are old basaltic flows deposited billions of years ago when the Moon was wracked by violent eruptions. The strange thing about Ina was its age.

Planetary scientists have long thought that lunar volcanism came to an end about a billion years ago, and little has changed since. Yet Ina looked remarkably fresh. For more than 30 years Ina remained a mystery, a "one-off oddity" that no one could explain.

Turns out, the mystery is bigger than anyone imagined. Using NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a team of researchers led by Sarah Braden of Arizona State University has found 70 landscapes similar to Ina. They call them "Irregular Mare Patches" or IMPs for short.

"Discovering new features on the lunar surface was thrilling!" says Braden. "We looked at hundreds of high-resolution images, and when I found a new IMP it was always the highlight of my day."

"The irregular mare patches look so different than more common lunar features like impact craters, impact melt, and highlands material," she says. "They really jump out at you."

On the Moon, it is possible to estimate the age of a landscape by counting its craters. The Moon is pelted by a slow drizzle of meteoroids that pepper its surface with impact scars. The older a landscape, the more craters it contains.

Some of the IMPs they found are very lightly cratered, suggesting that they are no more than 100 million years old. A hundred million years may sound like a long time, but in geological terms it's just a blink of an eye. The volcanic craters LRO found may have been erupting during the Cretaceous period on Earth--the heyday of dinosaurs. Some of the volcanic features may be even younger, 50 million years old, a time when mammals were replacing dinosaurs as dominant lifeforms.

"This finding is the kind of science that is literally going to make geologists rewrite the textbooks about the Moon," says John Keller, LRO project scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center.

IMPs are too small to be seen from Earth, averaging less than a third of a mile (500 meters) across in their largest dimension. That's why, other than Ina, they haven't been found before. Nevertheless, they appear to be widespread around the nearside of the Moon.

"Not only are the IMPs striking landscapes, but also they tell us something very important about the thermal evolution of the Moon," says Mark Robinson of Arizona State University, the principal investigator for LRO's high resolution camera. "The interior of the Moon is perhaps hotter than previously thought."

"We know so little of the Moon!" he continues. "The Moon is a large mysterious world in its own right, and its only three days away! I would love to land on an IMP and take the Moon's temperature first-hand using a heat probe."

Some people think the Moon looks dead, "but I never thought so," says Robinson, who won't rule out the possibility of future eruptions. "To me, it has always been an inviting place of magnificent beauty, a giant magnet in our sky drawing me towards it."

Young volcanoes have only turned up the heat on the Moon's allure. Says Robinson..."let's go!"


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Science@NASA
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





MOON DAILY
U.K. group to crowd-source funding for moon mission
London (UPI) Nov 19, 2014
A group in the United Kingdom aims to launch a lunar probe and study the moon using money raised on crowd-funding website Kickstarter. Lunar Mission One is currently working to raise $1 million on Kickstarter. The initial funds will be used to earn the project some early momentum, with planning and additional fundraising set to ramp up in the new year. To see the mission through ... read more


MOON DAILY
Within Rover's Reach at Mars Target Area 'Alexander Hills'

Mars Exploration Program Director Named

Second Time Through, Mars Rover Examines Chosen Rocks

Mars was warm enough for flowing water, but only briefly

MOON DAILY
Cassini probe measures sea depth on Saturn's moon Titan

Cassini Sails into New Ocean Adventures on Titan

Cassini Sees Sunny Seas on Titan

NASA Identifies Ice Cloud Above Cruising Altitude on Titan

MOON DAILY
Pluto's Exotic Chemistry

Clues Revealed About Hidden Interior of Uranus

New Horizons Set to Wake Up for Pluto Encounter

Hubble Telescope Finds Potential Kuiper Belt Targets for New Horizons Pluto Mission

MOON DAILY
Young Volcanoes on the Moon

U.K. group to crowd-source funding for moon mission

After Mars, India space chief aims for the moon

China examines the three stages of lunar test run

MOON DAILY
Thin film produces new chemistry in 'nanoreactor'

Biochemists build largest synthetic molecular 'cage' ever

UO-industry collaboration points to improved nanomaterials

Penn engineers efficiently 'mix' light at the nanoscale

MOON DAILY
European space plane set for February launch: firm

NASA Selects Student Teams for High-Powered Rocket Challenge

3-D Printed Engine Parts Withstand Hot Fire Tests

Swiss Space Systems concludes first phase of drop-tests

MOON DAILY
China expects to introduce space law around 2020

China launches new remote sensing satellite

China publishes Earth, Moon photos taken by lunar orbiter

China plans to launch about 120 applied satellites

MOON DAILY
Soyuz docks at Space Station; Expedition 42 joins crew

Italy's first female astronaut heads to ISS in Russian craft

Space station gets zero-gravity 3-D printer

NASA Commercial Crew Partners Continue System Advancements




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.