Moon mush?a type of slush?exists beneath the surface of the moon, according to a team led by James Williams at NASA?s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. New calculations developed by the British mathematician Augustus Love reveal how the Moon?s surface and interior react to the gravitational pull of the Earth and the Sun.
Using these new formulas, the researchers calculated that the way the Moon responds to these gravitational forces is partly due to a soft portion beneath its surface. The first evidence of a soft region near the Moon?s core was found using seismological equipment placed at different places on the surface during the Apollo missions. It was discovered that moonquakes lost their energy when they traveled further than 1,000 kilometers below the Moon?s surface. Since 1977, when these measurements ended, there has been no further evidence.
Robert Massey, an astronomer at Greenwich Observatory in the U.K., says the new results could provide fresh insight into the way a planet?s interior cools. ?Since we can’t go inside the Moon, we have to use indirect methods to learn its hidden secrets,? says Williams. ?In this case we were able to use the tidal distortion of the Moon.?
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