mascon

noun

mas·​con ˈma-ˌskän How to pronounce mascon (audio)
: any of the high-density regions below the surface of lunar maria that are held to perturb the motion of spacecraft in lunar orbit

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Other large craters have what are known as mascons, short for mass concentrations. National Geographic, 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, 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, 14 Mar. 2017 The lunar crust formed around those craters, leaving mass concentrations (mascons) of gravity behind in some areas. Erin Blakemore, Smithsonian, 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, 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.

Word History

First Known Use

1968, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mascon was in 1968

Dictionary Entries Near mascon

Cite this Entry

“Mascon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mascon. Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

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