Huge metallic blob discovered under a crater on the moon

Mar 2012
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A huge mysterious blob has been discovered lurking far beneath the solar system's largest crater, a vast depression on the moon known as the South Pole-Aitkin basin.

Scientists aren't sure what the blob is, but they think it could be a colossal mass of metal left over from the asteroid that created the crater billions of years ago when it smashed into the lunar surface.

Whatever it is, it's big: the scientists who found the blob estimate its mass to be at least 2.18 quintillion kilograms (about 4.8 quintillion pounds on Earth). That's roughly 6 billion Empire State Buildings — or five times more than the Big Island of Hawaii.

As the scientists say in a paper published April 5 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, they noticed a "large excess of mass" more than 100 miles beneath the basin — a vast, oval-shaped depression on the lunar far side as wide as 1,550 miles (2,500 kilometers) with a depth of more than 5 miles (8 kilometers). The finding indicated the presence of something massive beneath the surface.

Byrne said the mass concentration, or mascon, was likely a metal-rich remnant of the asteroid that struck the moon at least 4 billion years ago. "It's the best explanation we have with the data we have," he said.

Huge mysterious blob discovered under the moon's biggest crater