A new Moon research has presented scientists with observations into whether the surface of the Earth’s natural satellite is magnetized,’ debunking one of two long-standing hypotheses regarding the magnetic surface of the moon. The first is that in the lunar centre, the magnetization is the product of an ancient dynamo. Another is the consequence of the amplification of meteoroid impacts by interplanetary magnetic fields. According to the Australian researcher and co-author, Dr Katarina Miljkovic, of the Curtin University Space Science and Technology Centre, the study is an in-depth numerical analysis that contradicts the second hypothesis and ultimately debunks it.
Reasons Behind Moon’s Magnetic Surface
“We observed that meteoroid impact plasmas interact much more weakly with the Moon than the magnetization rate obtained from the lunar surface,” Miljkovic said.
She added that the results led them to assume that the only possible cause of magnetization of the Moon’s surface is a core dynamo. Dr Miljkovic presented the team with numerical estimates of the vapour formation that occurred about 4 billion years ago during a massive meteoroid strike on the Moon.
The meteoroids approached the Moon at a very high speed during these collisions, allowing the lunar surface to displace, melt, and vaporise.
During these impacts, a report measured the mass and thermal energy of the vapour released and then used them as an input for further measurements and investigation of the moon’s atmospheric magnetic field.
Lead author Dr Rona Oran stated that combined with plasma simulations, the impact tests harness the latest advances in science codes and computational power. And it helped the team to carry out the first simulations that could capture and validate this long-proposed process in a practical way.
Other Terrestrial Bodies with Magnetic Surface
Dr Oran added that Mercury, some meteorites and some other terrestrial bodies all have a magnetic layer in addition to the Moon. The scientist suggests that there may also have been a dynamo mechanism that is thought to have been in action on the moon.
The study’s results were published in the journal Science Advances.