"Imagine taking a pile of metal five times larger than the Big Island of Hawaii and burying it underground. That's roughly how much unexpected mass we detected," said lead author Peter B. James, Ph.D., assistant professor of planetary geophysics in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences.
Baylor scientists discovered the mass by analyzing data taken from spacecraft used during NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission. The GRAIL mission was a lunar gravity mapping exploration that used two spaceships to study the moon's interior and thermal history.
Baylor scientists believe the mass may also be suspended iron-nickel core from an asteroid that previously impacted the moon's surface.
"One of the explanations of this extra mass is that the metal from the asteroid that formed this crater is still embedded in the Moon's mantle," James said.