The Moon’s Orientale basin is an archetype of “multi-ring” basins found throughout the solar system. New research has enabled scientists to reconstruct Orientale’s formation using data from NASA’s GRAIL mission. It is now thought that the 580-mile-wide feature was created 3.8 billion years ago by an impacting object some 40 miles across travelling at about 9 miles per second.
Did the “Man in the Moon” look different from ancient Earth? New NASA-funded research provides evidence that the spin axis of the Moon shifted by about five degrees roughly three billion years ago. The evidence of this motion is recorded in the distribution of ancient lunar ice, evidence of delivery of water to the early solar system.
Scientists at MIT and elsewhere have identified regions on the far side of the Moon, called the lunar highlands, that may have been so heavily pelted by small asteroids during a period called the Late Heavy Bombardment 4 billion years ago that the impacts completely shattered the upper crust, leaving these regions essentially as fractured and porous as they could be.