Harry Coumnas, a famous astrophysicist along with his team solved one of the great mysteries of the moon, and took a new frame of reference. After the Soviet spacecraft Luna 3 transmitted the first images from the other side of the moon, it looked familiar. Many earthly astronomers saw ‘seas’ with small telescopes and a couple of smaller dark areas covering 2% of the surface.
It was the question from the past 60 years that “What is there at the dark side of the moon?” and it was a puzzle. “I clearly remember the first time I saw the globe of the moon, being struck how different the far side looks,” says Harry Coumnas. It was all mountains and craters. It turns out it’s been a mystery since the fifties. The Moon’s size, relative to Earth, has also been a puzzle with the theory that it was formed from debris thrown up when an object the size of Mars collided with the Earth.
There is a certain irony to the new theory. Some fellow astronomers of Harry are annoyed at the references to the “Dark Side of the Moon”. Once however, it seems that if the far side was not actually dark, then it was certainly much less light than the side lit up by close association to the molten Earth.