mascon

noun
mas·​con | \ ˈma-ˌskän How to pronounce mascon (audio) \

Definition of mascon

: any of the high-density regions below the surface of lunar maria that are held to perturb the motion of spacecraft in lunar orbit

Examples of mascon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Other large craters have what are known as mascons, short for mass concentrations. National Geographic, "Huge mystery blob found under the moon's far side," 11 June 2019 Discovered in 1968 by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, mascons show up in gravity maps as bullseyes—a central circle of strong gravity surrounded by a ring of weak gravity and then another ring of stronger gravity. National Geographic, "Huge mystery blob found under the moon's far side," 11 June 2019 Plus, the moon’s lopsided topography – riddled with mascons, or areas of dense material with higher-than-average gravitational pull – makes satellites’ orbits incredibly unpredictable. The Washington Post, The Denver Post, "NASA just found an orbiter that’s been missing around the moon for 8 years," 14 Mar. 2017 The lunar crust formed around those craters, leaving mass concentrations (mascons) of gravity behind in some areas. Erin Blakemore, Smithsonian, "NASA Spots India’s Long-Lost Lunar Orbiter," 14 Mar. 2017 Plus, the moon’s lopsided topography — riddled with mascons, or areas of dense material with higher-than-average gravitational pull — makes satellites’ orbits incredibly unpredictable. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "NASA just found an orbiter that’s been missing for 8 years," 13 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mascon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mascon

1968, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mascon

mas(s) entry 2 + con(centration)

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Time Traveler for mascon

Time Traveler

The first known use of mascon was in 1968

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Cite this Entry

“Mascon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mascon. Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on mascon

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mascon

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