Did the Earth form the Moon's Surface?
American researchers have found out that the earth may have helped form the surface of the moon. They say that the gravitational pull may be the reason that the dark side of the moon has a higher surface than the side we see. The far side of the moon has many craters and very few plains.
Four billion years ago the moon’s crust was still liquid and floated on magma. During that time the earth may have pulled the moon’s surface towards it in the same way the moon tugs on the earth’s oceans and causes the tides. Such a theory may explain how the moon got its current shape.
This tugging and pulling of the moon’s surface makes the crust thicker near the equator and thinner in near the poles. Because the part that points towards the earth is pulled more, the poles are stretched and heated. Scientists call this tidal heating.
The same kind of pulling happens in many parts of our solar system. Our oceans go up and down because of the moon’s pull. The same process might also happen on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons and Saturn’s moon Titan.
- The Solar System
- The Moon
- China Lands Spacecraft on the Moon
- NASA Finds More Water on the Moon
- Space Agencies Go for Jupiter and Saturn
- Project Apollo - NASA's Mission to the Moon
- NASA's Juno Space Probe on its Way to Explore Jupiter
- billion = a thousand million
- cause = lead to
- crust = the hard, outer layer of a planet
- current = today, now
- equator = the line that goes around the middle of the earth
- far side = the side that we never see; it is always pointed away from us
- float = swim
- gravitational pull = the force that pulls a planet to another one
- heat = to make warmer and hotter
- liquid = not a gas or solid, but like water
- magma = hot melted rock below the surface of the earth
- plain = flat land
- process = action
- researcher = a person who studies a subject and tries to find out new facts about it
- shape = form
- solar system = the sun and the planets that go around it
- stretch = make longer and wider
- surface = the top layer of an object
- tidal = about the tides
- tides = the rising and falling of the sea
- tug = pull