For centuries astronomers are trying to figure out what is there on the other side of the Moon. The composition of the two sides of the lunar surface is contracting to each other. This is because the side of the moon facing the Earth is different from that of the dark side. However, scientists may finally understand the reason why it is like this. According to research, this is mainly due to the important property of rock signature KREEP.
KREEP refers to the abbreviation for rock enriched in potassium (chemical symbol K), rare-earth elements (REE, which include cerium, dysprosium, erbium, europium, and other elements which are rare on Earth) and phosphorus (chemical symbol P), according to a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
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The mystery about the other side of the Moon
The Earth‐Moon system’s history remains mysterious. Scientists believe the two formed when a Mars‐sized body collided with the proto‐Earth. Earth ended up being the larger daughter of this collision and retained enough heat to become tectonically active. The Moon, being smaller, likely cooled down faster and geologically ‘froze’. The apparent early dynamism of the Moon challenges this idea.
On the Moon’s perpetually Earth-facing near side, on any given night, or day, one can observe dark and light patches with the naked eye. Early astronomers named these dark regions “maria”, Latin for “seas”, thinking they were bodies of water by analogy with the Earth. Using telescopes, scientists were able to figure out over a century ago that these were not in fact seas, but more likely craters or volcanic features.
The far side had almost no maria. Only 1% of the far side was covered with maria compared with approximately 31% for the near side. But this also means that the chemical composition is different than that of the Earth-facing side. NASA is currently planning their next Moon Artemis mission. Future research will provide more solid proof about the findings.
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Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.