Moon was found to have had many more craters than most people thought

New research recently discovered, the moon has more craters than most people thought. In information released by Live Science, over 109,000 new craters have been identified in “low- and medium-latitude regions of the moon” using artificial intelligence or AI, obtained from data collected from Chinese lunar orbiters.

The number of craters recorded on the surface of the Moon is now more than a dozen times larger than it was in the past. The results of the study were published in the journal Nature Communications on December 22nd.

According to Associate Professor of Earth Sciences Chen Yang of Jilin University in China, and lead author of the study, it is the largest database for lunar crater with automatic extraction “for moons of medium and low latitudes.

The Live Science report also specifies that the impact craters, “formed during the meteor impact”, cover most of the moon’s surface.

(Photo: NASA on Wikimedia Commons)
A recent study shows that the number of craters recorded on the surface of the Moon is now more than a dozen times higher than it was in the past.

Lunar Correspondent ‘Fossil’

Furthermore, Yang said, impact craters can be considered lunar correspondents of “fossils” that record the history of the solar system.

However, these “fossils” can vary dramatically in shape and size, and over time they can overlap and shred. This is why “identifying and entertaining them” is extremely time consuming.

The process is also subjective, resulting in inconsistencies among available databases. Yang, along with her team, approached these problems using artificial intelligence, also known as machine learning.

The authors of the study trained a deep neural network in which a computer uses layers of mathematical calculations that fit together with data coming from previously identified craters and taught algorithms to discover new ones.

Craters of small and medium size

The network was used for data that the lunar orbits Chang’e-1 and Chang’e-2 were able to collect, showing more than 109,000 additional craters on the lunar surface.

A significant number of craters discovered in this study are categorized as “small to medium” craters, although they form the perspective of Earthlings, they are still quite large, ranging in diameter from 0.6 to 60 miles or one to 100 kilometers. The relatively small size of the craters is probably the reason why they have not been searched in the past.

However, the AI ​​program also spotted much larger irregularly shaped craters that, according to researchers, had eroded. Some of those identified were up to 341 miles in diameter or 551 kilometers.

In addition, the algorithm also came close, when nearly 19,000 craters were formed according to their characteristics, such as depth and size, and by marking each for a “geological time period”.

AI approach

The craters mentioned covered all five lunar geological periods, and some date back to approximately four billion years.

The research team is looking forward to improving its “crater detection algorithm” by providing data from the recently launched Chang’e 5 landing chain, which recently returned lunar samples to Earth.

Furthermore, the study’s researchers want to adapt and apply their AI approach to other bodies in the solar system that include planets like Mars.

In their study, the researchers wrote, such a prediction “will usually take a few minutes, followed by several hours of post-processing” on a standard computing device.

READ ALSO: Chinese Chang’e 5 spacecraft enters lunar orbit

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