Astronomy: Glazing the Moon

While photographing the moon's surface with a special stereo camera, Astronaut Neil Armstrong was fascinated by several glassy patches that glittered like tiny bright mirrors. "I noticed them in six or eight places," Armstrong explained, "always in the same kind of place—at the bottom of a crater." Last week Cornell Astronomer Thomas Gold offered a dramatic explanation. The moon, he says, may have been scorched by a huge flare-up of heat and light within the solar system.

Since the patches have survived on the lunar surface despite the moon's constant bombardment by micrometeorites and solar particles, Gold calculates that the...

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