Scientists use GRAIL data to find new information about Orientale feature

The GRAIL data was recovered by NASA. | Courtesy of Shutterstock
Scientists have used recently recovered data from the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission from NASA to discover new information about the impact feature on the moon known as Orientale, which resembles a bullseye.

“Big impacts like the one that formed Orientale were the most important drivers of change on planetary crusts in the early solar system,” Brandon Johnson, Brown University geologist, said. “Thanks to the tremendous data supplied by GRAIL, we have a much better idea of how these basins form, and we can apply that knowledge to big basins on other planets and moons.”

Johnson was the lead author of one paper and co-author of the other.

“In the past, our view of Orientale basin was largely related to its surface features, but we didn't know what the subsurface structure looked like in detail,” Brown geologist Jim Head, member of the GRAIL science team and co-author of research, said. “It’s like trying to understand how the human body works by just looking at the surface. The beauty of the GRAIL data is that it is like putting Orientale in an X-ray machine and learning in great detail what the surface features correspond to in the subsurface.”

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