How did the moon get its bull’s-eye crater?

One of the most striking features on the moon is Orientale Basin, a 580-mile-wide bull’s-eye crater surrounded by three concentric rings – and scientists now think they know exactly how it formed.

In a joint pair of articles published in the current issue of Science, researchers explain how they used data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft to peer beneath the moon’s surface and piece together the giant crater’s story.

“Big impacts like the one that formed Orientale were the most important drivers of change on planetary crusts in the early solar system,” said Brandon Johnson, a lead author of one of the papers and a co-author of the other. “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.” READ MORE.