London, March 20: “Shrapnel” coming from small space rocks that periodically hit the Moon pose a larger risk to lunar missions than earlier believed.
Professor Mark Robinson, from Arizona State University, said that a relatively small impact on the Moon last year sprayed small rocks up to 30km from the initial impact site, the BBC reported.
Robinson and his team used the LROC imaging instrument aboard Nasa’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft to take images of the area corresponding to impact flash’s co-ordinates.
The researchers discovered a fresh 18m-wide crater, made by a 0.3-1.3m-wide space rock, and surrounded by typical “ejecta” deposits.
They also found 248 small “splotches” which extended up to 30kms from the primary crater. rof Robinson said that his team found hundreds of similar splotches around other lunar craters – and that some of these were “directional.”
He said that even if the shrapnel were travelling at a low-velocity of 100m/s, one would still not want to be hit with it, as that’s the velocity of a shotgun blast. (ANI)