This is way cool. A UC-Santa Cruz Earth and Planetary Sciences professor and his grad student created a computer model to explain the mountains on the far side of the moon.
The model involves a second moon around the earth, back when earth was very new and still mostly molten. The collision that created the moon may well have created a second one, and as the moon receded from the earth, it may have come into the orbit of the smaller moon. A slow collision would have spread the material of the smaller moon around one hemisphere of the larger body, creating the mountain ranges on the far side, and possibly triggering the orbital "lock" that keeps the older side of the moon facing earth.
Astrophysics is really, really cool.
- Steve Shea
- A 40-ish publisher (editor, project manager, etc.), husband, and father of an even number of offspring, I grew up, or failed to, reading fantasy and sci-fi. I still enjoy reading, and now am trying to write. My favorite books include YA fantasy, manga, biography, and advice to authors. I'm also a former history major/grad student/high school teacher and assessment writer. Now I work for a school supplement publisher, specializing in high-low chapter books. I spend a lot of my time controlling reading levels. At night, I cut loose and use long words. W00t!