This is a fascinating simulation that shows how the moon evolved from its original form — about 4.5 billion years ago — to what we can see today. It starts with the big impact that formed its South Pole’s Aitken Basin, 4.3 billion years ago.
A few million years later, the moon had a very rough time. It went through a period of heavy meteor bombardment, which is when its main basin was formed. This violent era lasted from 4.1 to 3.8 billion years ago. but it wasn’t the last one.
The moon resisted stoically and deformed for a few more years, only to sustain a long asteroid storm. This process, known as intermediate cratering, lasted more than two billion years. Then, about one billion years ago, new impacts created the ray craters, shaping the moon’s topography in what we know today.
This video was made by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center using data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and it’s a perfect match for your lunch sandwich.