Lani Boudreaux
Seng Sisombath
Thom Tran
Physics II

Moon Craters

Several planets have more than one moon, but Earth has only one moon. Earth’s moon effects the time, tides, etc. The moon has dark spots, light spots, but what about the craters? It was Galileo who discovered that the moon had imperfections. One of the imperfections is known as craters. It’s not naturally there, so what formed the craters?

Craters are remains of asteroids, comets, meteorites, or other foreign objects that collides with the moon. Also, two thirds of the side of the moon that is facing Earth is highly cratered highland and one third of the moon is dark and the plains have less craters. The far side however consists almost entirely of highlands. In some cases the diameters of some craters are 620 miles. Meteorites have formed these prints. Several meteorites have impacted pretty much all of the planets as well as the moons. However, we are able to see more of the moon’s craters. The print of the impact remains there since little geologic activities take place. For example, when a ball falls into a box of flour, the print will remain there until other objects interfere with it. On the other hand, Earth has a different story. Not only do we have an atmosphere, we also have geological disturbances such as: hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. These make it impossible to keep craters preserved. By using several types of clues scientists are able to identify the craters.

There are many factors that are inputted in identifying the craters. These clues include geological findings, satellite imaging, and chemical evidence!!!! Geological findings include pieces of glass or iron rich meteorite that could have formed during the impact. Satellite imaging is used to view formations of the craters that could be out of view, examples include; beneath the Earth’s surface or under a body of water. Chemical evidence is then used to date the crater. Therefore, not all crater’s prints are the same shapes and sizes. Most craters are classified as a simple or complex impact. Simple craters are the typical circular, bowl shaped prints. For example, Moltke. To be considered as complex, a crater must have atleast one or more peaks within the bowl. The Euler is an example of one. Craters are further characterized by their sizes. If it’s larger than 300 kilometers in diameter, it is known as an impact basin, such as Schrodinger. The only unusual crater is Messier & Messier, which are not circular. The shapes and sizes determine the category.

There are so many craters on the moon. Since people on Earth only see one side of the moon, it is difficult to view other craters. The largest crater in diameter at 164 km is Ptolemaeus. Most of the craters are named after famous astronomers. (Ptolemaeus,Ptolemy) Several other popular craters are: Tycho, Kepler, Plato, Hercules, Copernicus, Aristarchus, Alphonsus, and Archimedes. Thus, it is hard to calculate the amount of craters in the moon. New impacts occurs everday with the moon. Also, some craters are so small; it is invisible to the unaided eyes. The Moon’s craters are among other things that define it. It comes in differentiation of shapes and sizes. Its form distinguishes its name and type. There is more to the moon besides craters. For example, Armstrong’s footprint was a big step for mankind. And there’s more to the universe besides planets. But as far as craters are studied, there is a lot!


The objective of this experiment is to prove how the size of a meteor is related to the size of a crater upon impact. The shape and size of the crater depends on the size and velocity of impact. Meteorites less than 4 kilometers or 6.4 miles in diameter usually leave a round bowl crater, while larger meteorites cause craters with raised centers, which are called the central peak. This peak is caused by the surface's attempt to rebound from the impact. Huge impacts can leave multiple rings in the surface just as a rock creates ripples in a pond.

Materials and Equipment • cardboard box • ruler • flour • different sized spherical objects o marbles o balls o beads o fruit

Experimental Procedure

1. First, choose a variety of differently sized, spherical shaped objects to serve as "meteors" in your experiment.

2. Using a ruler, measure the diameter of each object. The diameter is the distance across the middle of the sphere, from one side to the other. Write your measurements in a data table:

Object Diameter of Object (cm) Diameter of Craters (cm) Average Crater Diameter (cm) marble ball apple etc...

3. Prepare your meteor landing area by pouring a 1 lb bag of flour into the box. Shift the box from side to side to evenly distribute the flour. The flour should be at least a depth of 2 inches. If there is not enough flour, you can either transfer the flour to a smaller box, or add another bag of flour.

4. Now drop one of your "meteors" into the box by holding the object out at arms length over the box and letting go. Remember to drop all of your meteors the same way, so that they are all dropped from the same height.

5. After the "meteor" impacts the flour, carefully remove the object without disturbing the "crater" left behind.

6. Drop the object two more times, carefully removing the object each time. You should have three "craters" to measure for each object.

7. Measure the diameter of the first "crater" by measuring the distance across the center of the depression in the flour. Be very careful not to disturb the flour with your ruler, by breathing too hard, or by shaking the box. Write the diameter of the first "crater" in the data table.

8. Measure the other two craters, writing each measurement in the data table. 9. Calculate the average crater diameter by adding up the three measurements and then dividing your answer by three. Write the answer in your data table.

10. Prepare your box for the next "meteor" by shaking it from side to side to even out the flour until it is smooth and level.

11. Repeat steps 4–10 for all of your objects, each time recording the diameter of the three "craters" and the average in the data table.

12. Now make a graph of your data. On the left axis (y-axis) you will plot the average diameter of the crater, and on the bottom axis (x-axis) you will plot the diameter of the meteor.

13. What size craters do the smallest objects make? What sized craters do the biggest objects make? Do you notice any pattern between the size of the crater and the size of the meteor?


• Meteors are very dense, iron-rich materials. Even slight changes in size can result in large changes in overall weight of a meteorite. Do small meteors and large meteors make the same sized craters? How is the impact of a crater affected by the weight of the meteor? You can do an experiment by weighing the different objects to see if the weight of the object is correlated to the size of crater it produces. The trick to this experiment will be to find similarly sized, but differently weighted objects to use as meteors.

• How does the impact of a crater change in different types of surface material? You can do an experiment using different types of material, like: sand, cornmeal, clay, dirt, ash, salt, etc. How do impact craters form in different types of surface materials? What can this tell us about the geology of a crater? Can this information be used to predict the surface properties of other planets?

• Meteors move at different speeds through space, depending upon many factors, like the origin, size or composition of the meteor. This means that meteors impact the planet at different speeds. Can this change the way an impact crater is formed? How is the size of a crater related to the speed of a meteor? You can do an experiment to investigate this by using a ladder to drop a "meteor" from different heights above the landing pad. As you drop an object from a higher distance, the object will be moving faster when it hits the surface. Will the size of the crater change as you drop the object from a higher distance?

.. Galileo was the man who discovered the imperfections of the Moon, which was "Craters". Craters are formed from comets, meteorites and asteroids. These objects hit the moon at different types of speed. So briefly, the idea of the experiment was to just understand that craters are in different sizes of shape from the impact of how fast or slow the object hits the Moon.


The experiment was briefly led about the impact of craters. The materials needed are the following:

  • A small box

  • Flour

  • Different spherical objects

* Ruler

* *

The small box was used to place the flour inside to represent the Moon. So, when an object hits the moon..the person can know the speed that the crater drawn into the moon. By slowly taking out the shaped objects, the ruler was then needed, to measure the diameter in whatever form of measurment; perferable centimeters. This measurement shows each impact that led to the crater.