22 Jan 2009

Did the Moon's far side once face Earth?

Billions of years ago, the man in the moon may have performed the ultimate about-face, when an asteroid flipped the moon around.

The far side of the moon never faces us, because the moon rotates once for every orbit it makes of the Earth. Yet an analysis of impact craters shows the far side may once have pointed our way.

Earth's Moon

Mark Wieczorek and Matthieu Le Feuvre at the Paris Institute of Earth Physics in France studied the relative age and distribution of 46 known craters, gouged out by impacts from debris originating in the solar system's asteroid belt.

According to earlier computer simulations, the moon's western hemisphere as viewed from Earth should have about 30 per cent more craters than the eastern hemisphere. That's because the west always faces in the direction in which the moon orbits, which makes it more likely to be hit by debris, for the same reason that more raindrops strike a moving car's front windshield than its rear.  More on New Scientist

Did it happen to Earth too?  See Wikipedia: Pole shift hypothesis or Polar Shift - When the Earth's Poles Flip By Jim McElwee:

“Let me start off by saying, factual evidence shows firm proof that the Earth's Poles have flipped several times in the past. It has been roughly 780,000 years Since the last polar shift, and Scientists believe we are overdue for another.”

But also read The Wild Side of Geoarchaeology Page with Alleged "Evidence" of Earth Crustal Displacement (Pole Shift) compiled by Paul V. Heinrich.