Usually when someone on the internet writes about ‘geometric forms’ found on the Moon, it’s a crazy UFO hunter who doesn’t understand pixelation of composite images taken at high altitudes. This is different. Scientists report that rifts across large areas of the Moon’s surface actually forms an enormous rectangle. The area in question is the Ocean of Storms, an enormous and obvious feature of the Moon which was once thought to literally contain an ocean. In the modern era of astronomy it has been understood – of course – that the ‘Ocean’ is actually just another area of basalt rock (the technical term is ‘maria’, which is just Latin for ‘sea’). But it had always been assumed that the shape was a 2,000-mile-wide crater caused by an asteroid impact – and represented a lucky escape for Earth. Now they’re not so sure. In fact a new study suggests that the ocean was actually caused by cooling lava on the early Moon – and that the satellite was actually far more active and dynamic than we used to think.
The discovery was made using data from NASA’s GRAIL mission, which mapped the gravity of the Lunar surface in exquisite detail. The images revealed that the topography of the surface in the area is almost a perfect rectangle – indicating it formed as the Moon’s surface moved apart from itself. “GRAIL has revealed features on the moon that no one anticipated before we had this data in hand,” said lead study author Jeffrey Andrews-Hanna, a planetary scientist at the Colorado School of Mines, according to Space.com. “One can only wonder what might lie hidden beneath the surfaces of all of the other planets in the solar system.”
Above: the Moon as we know it normally (l) and the images resulting from the GRAIL mission (r). Andrews-Hanna added that the “pattern of gravity anomalies on the moon is so strikingly geometric and in such an unexpected shape that it is forcing us to think in new and different ways about the processes operating on the moon”.
The working theory is that the early molten moon cooled in a similar way to the early Earth, where lava tends to cool in hexagonal columns. This happens because where three cracks intersect, they tend to do it at 120-degree angles – and a hexagon is the only shape on a flat surface where all the angles can be 120 degrees. But on the Moon, in the Procellarum region, the surface is curved not flat – and a rectangle can form with 120 degree corners. Hence the square-like structure. So no, it’s not a giant space station under Lunar surface. But it’s interesting and unexpected anyway, and could lead to lots of new interesting ways of thinking about the Moon and other planets. ( By Michael Rundle from HuffingtonPost.com )