'Man in the Moon' Was Made by Austria-Sized Asteroid
Japanese researchers arrive at conclusion by analyzing minerals
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Oct 30, 2012 2:43 AM CDT
Updated Oct 30, 2012 8:20 AM CDT
The full moon is seen in this file photo. The Procellarum basin is the dark part on the left.   (NASA)

(Newser) – The moon's Procellarum basin—the dark part seen from Earth sometimes said to resemble a "man in the moon"—was likely formed when an asteroid the size of Austria slammed into the lunar surface some 3.9 million years ago, a team of Japanese scientists has concluded. The team examined mineral mapping and light reflection data from the Selene moon orbiters, and concluded that the basin contains a mineral that was probably generated when rocks melted when the roughly 187-mile-wide asteroid hit, the Asahi Shimbun reports.

"The latest study explains why the moon's two sides are so different," one professor says. "It helps unravel the mystery of the moon's history." The side of the moon facing Earth is full of flat dark "seas," while the dark side is thicker and more mountainous.

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Showing 3 of 9 comments
Oct 30, 2012 11:31 PM CDT
There is no Darkside of the Moon unless your Pink Floyd
Oct 30, 2012 11:07 AM CDT
If so, it's a good thing it hit there instead of here, else we all wouldn't be here.
Oct 30, 2012 9:05 AM CDT
I hate how these things are presented as FACT.. Without knowing the atmosphere of any body we are viewing, there is no way to determine (By Observation) anything factual in the universe because the components do not weather chemically as they would on Earth. Just about as good a guess as “The Mars is made of cheese”