The Moon and Geology

While we have discussed a lot of the different aspects of geology on the earth in class, not much has been discussed on the geology of different planets.  We can learn a lot from studying the surfaces of planets in the universe.  All the Sci-Fi movies have asteroids that are plummeting to the earth’s surface and we only have hours to figure out how to destroy it before the human population is destroyed as we know it.  As unrealistic as this sounds, planets have been bombarded by asteroids and meteors leaving scars on the surface.  We can try and see the effects of the asteroids by studying the other planets. Also the composition of the soil on the planets can teach us what living environments support growth.  We obviously know that earth is able to support life, but recent studies have found that life may have been able to be sustained on other planets as well.  By studying whatever was the cause of the demise of these organisms might help us in the future.

NASA is one of the organizations obviously at the for-front for studying other planets. One that has been studied recently is our neighbor planet, the Moon.  NASA has created a new geologic map of the moon’s Schrödinger basin that shows what violence in the atmosphere has caused the surface of the Moon.  The map’s main purpose is to help plan where future landing sites should be.  They used topographic data collected by satellites and past missions to develop the more detailed map.

The basin is called a peak-ridge named after the fact that a mountainous region of crust rose up after a huge object hit the planet.  These were probably the only rocks that did not melt by the heat of the object.  The explosion of the object after it hit the planets sent debris flying in all directions and created plains along the surface.  As the material cooled, crevices formed in the bottom of the basin. There has also been evidence of recent volcanic activity in the basin itself.  This activity has brought up dark material that mantles the plains.

It is fascinating to see that our planet has similar geological features to other planets. I would be curious to know if there could be any possibility of there being tectonic plates on other planets as well.  It is thought that Mars may have had life on it a very long time ago.  Canals that look like the ones on Earth were found on the surface.  What could have caused that water to dry up? And if there were tectonic plates on that planet would it have changed how the planet is today?  We should really put more interest into the study of planets not only in our galaxy but others as well.  It might help us understand what will happen to our planet if we do not start taking better care of it.

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