Image
© NASA
LRO's crater catalog
New results from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft show that the Moon was heavily bombarded by asteroids in its complex youth.

The early Moon was apparently hit by asteroids much more than previously thought, according to the LRO's new findings and its surface is much more intricate than what astronomers believed.

"Our new LRO LOLA dataset shows that the older highland impactor population can be clearly distinguished from the younger population in the lunar 'maria' -- giant impact basins filled with solidified lava flows." Said James Head of Brown University in RI, lead author of the study.

"The highlands have a greater density of large craters compared to smaller ones, implying that the earlier population of impactors had a proportionally greater number of large fragments than the population that characterized later lunar history." He continued.

NASA launched the LRO to study the Moon's surface and it is now returning its new results from its detailed global topographic map of the natural satellite's surface, which it acquired using its Lunar Laser Altimeter (LOLA).

By studying the Moon's surface, NASA scientists are trying to get more understanding on how asteroid bombardments affected the Moon as well as the Earth. They also hope to find out more about which minerals and geological materials can be found and in which parts of the Moon they lie. These could reveal more information on how exactly the Moon was formed and also how they could be used if a team of astronomers is ever sent or stationed on the Moon in the future.