Moon is pummeled with impacts much more often than predicted

All you have to do is look out your window at night and you can see the evidence in the night sky that the moon has been pummeled by asteroids and other impacts throughout its life. Since there is no wind on the surface of the moon, there is no erosion and the craters simply stay for eternity. While we can clearly see that the Moon has been struck with objects that form craters, scientists believed that this was not a very common occurrence. It now seems that the scientists were wrong.

A new study has found that new craters form on the surface of the Moon at a rate much higher than scientists had predicted. While we can't see these new craters from Earth, the fear is that the more common incidence of the Moon being stuck could pose a significant risk to future moon missions. Granted NASA went the entire Apollo moon mission era with no issues from impacts.

While scientists have studied ancient craters on the moon to help determine the age of features on the Moon's surface, little study had been done into new crater formation. Scientists in the new study analyzed 14,000 pairs of before and after images to look for new crater formation. The images studied cover a scant 6.6% of the lunar surface and were taken at a time span of between 176 and 1241 earth days between the before and after images.

The image here shows the new craters discovered with yellow dots. In all the scientists discovered 222 new craters on the moon. That is 33% more new strikes than predicted by current models. The new craters discovered were at least 32-feet across and some were up to 140-feet across. The team estimates that with the new impact data in place the top 0.8-inches of lunar dirt is churned up at a rate 100 times faster than thought via impacts. One of the scientists on the project says that future lunar bases and surface vehicles will need to be able to withstand debris impacts at up to 1,120 mph.