Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Are craters on the moon randomly distributed?

  1. Jan 24, 2007 #1
    In world war two the British used a Poisson distribution to analyse where V-rockets were landing in London and showed that the pattern of targets hit was random and that therefore the rockets were not being guided accurately.
    Hasanything similar been done for the craters on the moon - their relative locations,the size of them,the angle at which projectiles struck the moon's surface etc.A non-random distribution would tell us something about the processes going on above the moon's surface before projectiles struck - wouldn't it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 24, 2007 #2
    There are more craters on the dark side of the moon than the side facing us. Obviously, that's because the Earth helps to protect that side by blocking some of the impacts. Other than that, it's pretty much random. I don't believe there are more around the equatorial plane than the poles, if that's what you mean.
  4. Jan 25, 2007 #3
    Where did the projectiles that caused the craters come from -somewhere further away than the Earth presumably?
  5. Jan 25, 2007 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    They are from left-over debris from the formation of the solar system, orbiting around the sun.
  6. Jan 25, 2007 #5

    George Jones

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    No, (on the near side) craters are not distributed uniformly, and yes, this does tell us something.

    As Russ said, shortly after the solar system formed, lots of junk (planetesimals, etc.) was left over from the planet building phase. The junk in the path of the Earth/Moon system was swept up by Earth/Moon system as it orbited the Sun. This caused the majority of the craters on the Moon.

    After much of this junk was swept up, lava flowed onto and into lowland areas of the surface of the Moon, creating the maria. The maria have a much lower rate of cratering because the lava flowed after much of the junk had already been swept up.
  7. Jan 25, 2007 #6
    Are some crater sizes (width and depth) more common than others?
  8. Jan 25, 2007 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    There is no "dark side of the moon". All of it is in sunlight once every lunation, just as Earth has no dark side.
  9. Feb 26, 2007 #8
    Partial correction:

    Labguy is right, but what we call the dark side of the moon is the side that we usually don't get to see. A more accurate term would be the far side.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Are craters on the moon randomly distributed?
  1. Crater within a crater (Replies: 1)