Scientists stunned as AI leads to discovery of 6000 new craters on the Lunar surface

Kolkata scientists to send four-kg payload along with TeamIndus rover to Moon next year

The Moon, our closest cosmic neighbor, has many mysteries inside it. Scientists are always fascinated by the Moon and its unique features. Recently, with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) scientists have discovered more than 6000 new craters on the surface of the moon.

The new AI tool mapped thousands of new moon craters within just several hours. As AI is the booming technology nowadays, researchers and scientists have also started using AI in their research studies and experiments. According to the scientists, using neural networks, they will be able to find many hidden, unnoticed information about Moon and other cosmic bodies. The latest research applied a new AI or machine learning technique to the available data taken from the previous lunar observations and managed to find out more than 6000 never-seen-before craters on Moon.

The main aim of the new AI technique is to increase the accuracy of documentation of moon’s crater. The latest project is led by Mohamad Ali-Dib at the University of Toronto and Ari Silburt at Penn State University. Mohamad Ali-Dib said, “Basically we need to manually look at an image, locate and count the craters and then calculate how large they are based on the size of the image. Here we’ve developed a technique from artificial intelligence that can automate this entire process that saves significant time and effort.”

For the study, the scientists taught the crater-counting machine an algorithm that could identify those craters that are bigger than 5 kilometers (3-miles) in diameter. The scientists set this limit so that it would help the new AI to distinguish between a crater and a planetary feature like a mountain edge. Scientists just wanted to check how precisely the AI manages to detect the craters. The results surprised the scientists.

They found out that the new AI technique not only managed to trace the already discovered craters on Moon’s surface but also it successfully got hold of thousands of new previously unknown craters. Within a few hours of its application, the AI was able to double the number of known craters present on Moon that are 3 miles or more than 3 miles wide. Out of the new craters discovered, around 15 percent were found to be smaller in diameter than the minimum crater size in the ground-truth dataset.

Galileo built his first telescope in late 1609, and turned it to the Moon for the first time on November 30, 1609. He discovered that, contrary to general opinion at that time, the Moon was not a perfect sphere, but had both mountains and cup-like depressions, the latter of which he gave the name craters. The formation of new craters is studied in the lunar impact monitoring program at NASA. The biggest recorded creation was caused by an impact recorded on March 17, 2013. Visible to the naked eye, the impact is believed to be from an approximately 40 kg meteoroid striking the surface at a speed of 90,000 km/h.

Because of the Moon’s lack of water, atmosphere, and tectonic plates, there is little erosion, and craters are found that exceed two billion years in age. The age of large craters is determined by the number of smaller craters contained within it, older craters generally accumulating more small, contained craters.

The smallest craters found have been microscopic in size, found in rocks returned to Earth from the Moon. The largest crater called such is about 290 kilometres (181 mi) across in diameter, located near the lunar South Pole. However, it is believed that many of the lunar maria were formed by giant impacts, with the resulting depression filled by upwelling lava.

About the author

Kanishk Singh

Kanishk Singh, co-founder, and editor-in-chief at The TeCake, has forayed in the Science and Space for over five years, he enjoys his stint as an editor of several local magazines. He has written several editorials and high-level documentations.


Click here to post a comment

  • The article says “6000 new craters” where the title says “6000K”. I think it should be 6000 or 6K.

You Might Also Like