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Title: EARTHSHINE ON A YOUNG MOON: EXPLAINING THE LUNAR FARSIDE HIGHLANDS

The lunar farside highlands problem refers to the curious and unexplained fact that the farside lunar crust is thicker, on average, than the nearside crust. Here we recognize the crucial influence of Earthshine, and propose that it naturally explains this hemispheric dichotomy. Since the accreting Moon rapidly achieved synchronous rotation, a surface and atmospheric thermal gradient was imposed by the proximity of the hot, post-giant impact Earth. This gradient guided condensation of atmospheric and accreting material, preferentially depositing crust-forming refractories on the cooler farside, resulting in a primordial bulk chemical inhomogeneity that seeded the crustal asymmetry. Our model provides a causal solution to the lunar highlands problem: the thermal gradient created by Earthshine produced the chemical gradient responsible for the crust thickness dichotomy that defines the lunar highlands.
Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 525 Davey Lab, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22365762
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 788; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTROPHYSICS; ASYMMETRY; EARTH PLANET; LUNAR ATMOSPHERE; MATHEMATICAL SOLUTIONS; MOON; ROTATION; SURFACES; TEMPERATURE GRADIENTS