At the south pole of the moon is a giant crater called the South Pole-Aitken Basin, about 2500 kilometres across. It is thought to have been created by a large asteroid striking the moon 4 billion years ago and is among the largest craters in the solar system. Now researchers say the remains of that asteroid may have been found under the lunar surface.
The very oldest pieces of rock on Earth - zircon crystals - are likely to have formed in the craters left by violent asteroids. This contradicts the previous belief that they were created by Earth's plate tectonics shortly after it formed. The discovery was made by scientists who studied zircons in the Sudbury impact crater in Ontario, and found them to be no different from an ancient set. The discovery was made by scientists who studied zircons crystals (pictured) in the Sudbury impact crater in Ontario. Rocks that formed over the course of Earth's history allow geologists to infer things such as when water first appeared on the planet, how our climate has varied, and even where life came from.
Scientists have succeeded in creating what they called the first-ever artificial crater on an asteroid, a step toward shedding light on how the solar system evolved, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said Thursday. The announcement comes after the Hayabusa2 probe fired an explosive device April 5 at the Ryugu asteroid, around 340 million kilometers from Earth, to blast a crater in the surface and scoop up material, aiming to reveal more about the origins of life on Earth. Yuichi Tsuda, Hayabusa2 project manager, told reporters they confirmed the crater from images captured by the probe located 1,700 meters (5,500 feet) from the asteroid's surface. "Creating an artificial crater with an impactor and observing it in detail afterward is a world-first attempt," Tsuda said. "This is a big success."
Japan's space agency said Thursday 10 other smaller man-made craters had been found on an asteroid after its Hayabusa2 space probe produced an artificial crater last month as part of its mission to explore the origin of life and the evolution of the solar system. When the asteroid explorer fired a metal object at the Ryugu asteroid on April 5 to create a crater in the world's first-of-its-kind experiment, scattered fragments of the impactor made other craters, about 1 meter in diameter, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said. The newly discovered craters along with the initial one found earlier -- which is about 10 meters in diameter and 2 to 3 meters in depth -- are expected to help the agency examine the surface of the asteroid and estimate its age, according to JAXA. The agency will continue to investigate the surface of Ryugu, around 340 million kilometers from Earth, in the hope that by June it will have found a suitable site for Hayabusa2 to collect more surface samples following the first such procedure in February. Launched in December 2014 from the Tanegashima Space Center in southwestern Japan, Hayabusa2 reached Ryugu last June and is scheduled to return to Earth around the end of 2020 after completing its mission.