New crater revives Moon mysteryA mysterious flash on the Moon caught on camera 50 years ago is still provoking disagreements about its origin. Astronomer Bonnie Buratti says her new results show that the flash was caused by a 20-metre asteroid hitting the Moon... Amateur astronomer Leon Stuart's 1953 photograph of the Moon shows a light spot near the centre of the Moon's visible surface. It would take a half-megaton explosion to produce such a flash, says Buratti, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Pasadena.
by Jeff Hecht
11 January 2003
The resulting crater would not be visible from Earth, but it should appear on close-ups taken by lunar probes. In a future issue of the journal Icarus, Buratti reports a fresh impact scar at the site of the 1953 flash on images collected by the Clementine spacecraft as it orbited the Moon in 1994. A bright blanket of ejected material covers an area that is about 1.5 kilometres across, and the colour of the debris indicates that the crater is relatively new.
Physics News Update Number 16 (Story #2)The far side of the Moon, impossible to see from the Earth, was recently photographed by the Galileo spacecraft on its way toward Jupiter. New information about the mineralogical composition of the far side's crust was recorded and pictures revealed the largest impact basin yet seen on the moon, more than 2000 km in diameter and so deep that is may have penetrated through the crust to the moon's mantle. (Eos, January 1, 1991.)
by Phillip F. Schewe and Ben Stein
January 10, 1991