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NASA Tools Up To Explain This Decades-Old Moon Dome Mystery
NASA launched the Artemis program, in part, to conduct scientific missions to the moon and unravel mysteries of its lunar surface like the Gruithuisen Domes. Named after Franz von Gruithuisen, a Bavarian scientist from the 1800's who believed the moon was habitable, these domes are so perplexing that NASA plans to send a probe to study them exclusively.
The Gruithuisen Domes are a "geologic enigma," says NASA, due to their composition of silica-rich magma, a type of magma that typically requires both water and plate tectonics to form. Since neither of these essential ingredients is known to exist on the moon at this time, the origins of these domes have long troubled lunar geologists.
To solve this mystery, the agency has designed a dedicated probe that will be part of a suite of five instruments, with the intention of getting it on the lunar surface by 2025. The probe will be mounted aboard a mobile rover that will climb up to the summit of one of the domes and collect samples from there — a process that NASA expects will take ten Earth days.
Afterward, the data collected from the samples will be sent back to Earth for further study. If all goes according to plan, scientists at NASA will be able to conduct the most comprehensive study on the Gruithuisen Domes since they were first discovered nearly two centuries ago, and humanity will be one step closer to unraveling their mysteries.