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Gravity `changes along Moon`s surface`

Last Updated: Friday, April 6, 2012 - 14:20

Washington: Planetary scientists claim to have created a new gravity map of the moon which shows that the gravity pull changes from location to location over the surface of the Earth`s natural satellite.

Using detailed topographic information from NASA`s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, an international team was able to reveal the fine structure of the moon`s gravity field in brand new detail.

Team leader Dr Christian Hirt at Curtin University, who calculated the new gravity maps, said that the findings showed existing gravity models neglected approximately 50 per cent of the lunar gravity signal.

Hirt added: "The moon`s gravitational pull is about one-sixth of the Earth?s. Our new lunar gravity map now shows, for the first time, how the pull of gravity changes from
location to location over the rugged surface of the Moon.

"This reveals features of the lunar gravity field, including pockmark signatures, showing gravity accelerations are higher at the bottom of impact craters than the elevated crater rim, and revealing the strength and variation of gravity acceleration over the entire surface of the Moon."

The scientists said the research to improve gravity field maps for the Moon came from an approach that was successfully tested on Earth and could also be used for other solid planetary bodies.

The findings have been published in the `Earth and Planetary Science Letters` journal.


First Published: Friday, April 6, 2012 - 14:20
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