Broken dwarf planet may have scarred the Moon in early solar system

June 11th, 2009 - 12:40 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 11 (ANI: A new analysis of craters of the Moon has suggested that the shattered remnants of a dwarf planet may have bombarded the inner planets in the early solar system.

According to a report in New Scientist, several large impact scars on the moon appear to be around 3.9 billion years old, suggesting that the Earth and other objects of the inner solar system were heavily pounded at that time.

Most astronomers believe that the bombardment was caused by shifts in the orbits of the giant planets, which destabilized the asteroid belt, hurling giant rocks our way.

But, the distribution of small and large lunar craters does not match the numbers of small and large objects in the asteroid belt today, according to a team led by Matija Cuk of Harvard University.

Cuk said that one possible alternative is that a dwarf planet or single large asteroid “hundreds or maybe 1000 kilometres across” did the damage after being ripped apart by gravity when it came too close to Earth or another inner planet. It then littered the inner solar system with impactors. (ANI)

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