News & AnalysisPlanetary Science

Peering Inside the Moon to Read Its Earliest History

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Science  07 Dec 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6112, pp. 1272
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6112.1272

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A few billion years ago, huge impacts and massive volcanic eruptions pummeled the moon and erased any traces of its earliest history. Now, two spacecraft of NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission, known as GRAIL, have allowed planetary scientists to peer inside the moon to glimpse some vestige of its formative years. The orbiting is measuring the subtlest of variations in the moon's gravitational pull, painting a picture of a moon even more badly battered than previously thought.