Simulations Help Understand the Formation of Lunar Multi-Ring Basins

Image credit: Ernest Wright, NASA/GSFC Scientific Visualization Studio

The largest impact craters on the Moon are multi-ring basins with three or more topographic rings, and understanding the formation processes of these basins is important for understanding the evolution of the Moon. However, why large basins have multiple topographic rings remains poorly understood. Brandon Johnson and his colleagues simulated the formation of lunar basins and their rings during an asteroid impact. Their simulations successfully reproduced observed trends in ring location, spacing, and offset. They also found that the ring formation is sensitive to the target thermal structure and crustal thickness as well as impactor size. READ MORE