Scientists have published an article in which they presented a curious theory: there is a possibility that the Moon was bombarded by tiny black holes in the distant past. And traces of these events could be present today in the form of a new type of craters.
Researchers believe that countless miniature black holes formed shortly after the Big Bang. Traveling through space as the universe expanded, these black holes began to gradually spread and ended up in the Solar System.
The research team argues that the moon and other objects in our system may be littered with craters from these miniature black holes. They believe that their study could spur some breakthrough ideas and discoveries about dark matter.
Did black holes collide with our Moon, leaving craters yet to be found?
Miniature black holes formed after the Big Bang
The authors of the article believe that soon after the Big Bang, many atom-sized black holes formed. These space objects would travel through space and crash into other celestial bodies, including planets like our own.
Earth’s atmosphere protected it
According to researchers, Earth and other planets in the Solar System turned out to be quite well protected, in contrast to the Moon, which has a very thin atmosphere. Scientists from the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics believe that some satellites of Jupiter and Neptune or Mercury could also be suitable research targets, but the Moon is more accessible to earthlings.
Plus, the world is already in preparation for the next moon landing and overall colonization of the satellite, so it is obvious that it will be the main target for all kinds of research in the upcoming years. In order to confirm or reject this theory to the fullest, scientists will need new lunar samples. One option is to send out a rover that can analyze samples like NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars. The other, of course, is to bring samples back here with a return mission.
Craters on the Moon
Since dark matter, according to some theorists, may consist of primordial black holes, the study of the lunar surface will allow, at least, to impose some restrictions on these theories. Future manned missions to the moon, such as NASA’s Artemis program, may find and study these atypical craters if they exist.
See a visualization of a typical impact with an asteroid below:
In turn, the next video shows a visualization of an impact with a miniature black hole and the atypical crater it would leave on the Moon:
The authors believe that the traces of microscopic black holes and the profiles of the corresponding craters will differ markedly from ordinary meteorite ones. If these black holes really exist and left their mark on the moon, then scientists will have indirect evidence of the existence of dark matter.
NOTE: Dark energy, responsible for the accelerated expansion of the universe, makes up 68% of the entire cosmos. Dark matter, which slows expansion, takes another 27%. And the share of ordinary, baryonic matter accounts for only 5% of the “budget” of the Universe.
How impactful would a collision with a miniature black hole be?
According to the calculations of the authors of the article, there could have been enough primordial black holes with a mass from 10 17 to 10 23 g for repeated collisions with the Moon during the existence of the solar system. A miniature black hole may sound insignificant but even one such object with the size of a ping pong ball would have a mass greater than that of our planet. And if they even exist, they might still be around in the Solar System, but fortunately, Earth’s atmosphere is still intact and we are well protected.
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• Ravisetti, M. (n.d.). Black holes slamming into the Moon could end the dark matter debate. CNET.
• Tran, T. (2021, November 20). Scientists say mini-black holes may have smashed into the Moon. Futurism.
• Yalinewich, A., & Caplan, M. E. (n.d.). Crater morphology of primordial black hole impacts. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.