The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Dec 06, 2012
 

Gravity maps of moon reveal deeply fractured crust

 
 

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Asteroids and comets colliding with the moon not only pitted its surface but also severely fractured its crust, researchers with NASA said on Wednesday, in a finding that could help crack a Martian puzzle.

On Mars, similar fracturing would have given water on the surface a way to penetrate deep in the ground, where it may remain today, they said.

"Mars might have had an ancient ocean and we're all wondering where it went. Well, that ocean could well be underground," planetary scientist Maria Zuber, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told reporters at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco.

The discovery that the moon's crust is deeply fractured came from a pair of small probes that comprise NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, mission. The identical spacecraft have been following each other around the moon for nearly a year.