Since my childhood I’ve been hearing stories about it. Stories of different kinds and answers funnier than the previous ones. I’m talking about the ‘Man In The Moon’, the rocky outline of the moon’s surface, which is often mistaken for a face. It is known as the Ocean of Storms or Procellarum.
Now NASA scientists have solved the baffling mystery of ‘Man In The Moon’ with the help of NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) and this makes me sad in a weird way. Maybe because now I know the truth and all those fascinating stories are now fake to me.
Scientists believed that this impression was caused by an asteroid impact. But on the contrary it was caused by some activities happening underneath the moon’s surface.
The latest research, published in the journal Nature suggests it may have been caused by a large plume of magma deep inside the moon coming up towards the surface.
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According to the research:
The spatial pattern of magmatic-tectonic structures bounding Procellarum is consistent with their formation in response to thermal stresses produced by the differential cooling of the province relative to its surroundings, coupled with magmatic activity driven by the greater-than-average heat flux in the region.
The researchers found that the border of impressions is not circular, but polygonal and looks like made up of sharp 120-degree angles. These sharp edges couldn’t have been created by impact of some asteroid. Instead, it was produced by cracks due to tension in the moon’s crust which was developed due to cooling of an upwelling plume of hot material from the deep interior.
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