In ancient times, the moon had a strong magnetic field, scientists have found

(ORDO NEWS) — A new study published in the journal Nature Astronomy confirms that since its formation, the Moon may have been a random source of magnetic energy.

Scientists have long been interested in the non-magnetic nature of the Moon, especially when samples of regolith brought back from the lunar surface showed that they were formed in the presence of a strong magnetic field. This magnetic field was so strong that it could have been larger than Earth’s.

A new study confirms that early in its history, the Moon could have been a random magnetic energy source, as a body the size of the Moon could generate such a strong magnetic field. Evidence of the likely magnetic nature of the Moon came from the analysis of rocks returned to Earth during NASA’s Apollo program from 1968 to 1972.

The study shows that giant rock formations cutting through the Moon’s mantle could have caused internal convection that could generate these strong magnetic fields. The researchers say that this process could periodically create powerful magnetic fields during the first billion years of the moon’s life.

“We thought that a body the size of the Moon would not be able to generate the same strong field as the Earth,” said study co-author Alexander Evans.

The magnetic field in planetary bodies is created by a process during which slowly dissipating heat in the planet’s core causes convection of molten metals.

The constant stirring of an electrically conductive material creates a magnetic field. In the same way, the Earth creates its own magnetic field, which protects the surface from the most dangerous radiation from the Sun.

Evans added that perhaps there is a way to get a high intensity field.

“Our model shows how this can happen and how it fits with what we know about the moon’s interior,” Evans said. In order for the core to continuously produce a magnetic field, it needs to dissipate a lot of heat.

On the early Moon, the mantle surrounding the core was not much colder than the core itself, Evans says. And since heat could not escape from the core, there was no great convection in the core.

However, modeling of the process showed that the rocks plunging in the core could provide discontinuous convective amplification and the subsequent generation of a magnetic field.

It is believed that a few million years after the formation of the moon, it was covered with an ocean of molten rock. As the vast ocean of magma began to cool and solidify, minerals that were denser than liquid magma sank to the bottom, while less dense minerals floated to form a crust.

The remaining liquid magma was rich in titanium, as well as fuel elements such as thorium, uranium and potassium, which crystallized just under the crust.

Using simulations of the process, the researchers found that these titanium formations sank. Being just below the lunar crust, the titanium formations would be relatively cool.

When the cold droplets came into contact with the hot core after being immersed, the temperature difference caused the core to convect more and subsequently generate a magnetic field.


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