The inexplicably powerful magnetic field of the moon: scientists have finally found its source
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Our satellite still hides many mysteries that are difficult to explain. But one of them seems to have been revealed.
Chinese scientists believe their new study could help understand the origin of unusually strong magnetic field readings that do not match other characteristics of the Moon, writes ScienceAlert.
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Scientists led by Zhuang Guo from the Chinese Academy of Sciences conducted a study of lunar rock samples that were brought to Earth by the Chang'e-5 spacecraft “. In these samples, they found particles of magnetite, a mineral that is very rarely found in samples from the Moon.
“The origin of magnetic anomalies on the Moon is a mystery that scientists have been working on for 50 years since the Apollo missions. We believe that understanding the mechanism of formation and distribution of magnetite on our satellite is the key to explaining the existence of magnetic anomalies in the Moon's crust “, says Guo.
Scientists have found particles of magnetite, which is a magnetic iron ore, in microscopic spherical formations of iron sulfide. Scientists believe that the magnetite here was the result of strong impacts of space rocks on the surface of the moon. According to scientists, the discovery of magnetite is very important, because it can be used to find out how magnetic fields behaved on the Moon throughout its history.
According to Guo, the results of the study show that magnetite can be widespread in the very thin lunar soil. Therefore, an explanation for unusual magnetic anomalies can be found if the models of the development of the Moon are corrected in accordance with the new study.
Unlike soil on Earth, the lunar regolith has too many electrons due to the constant bombardment of protons that come from the sun. This makes it harder for iron and oxygen to combine to form ore. But this does not mean that such a process cannot occur on the Moon.
According to Guo, the features of the spherical formations of iron sulfide and the distribution of oxygen led scientists to conclude that during impact events on the surface of the Moon, a coupling reaction occurred.
Some previous research has suggested that space rocks may have left behind ferromagnetic materials when they hit the Moon's surface. And they could be the cause of magnetic anomalies, at least in the region of the impact event.
But Chinese scientists believe that these impacts on the Moon were so strong that they led to the transformation of these ferromagnetic substances into microscopic particles of magnetite. Thus, meteorites became the source of these minerals on the Moon.
Scientists conclude that magnetite is thus much more common on the surface of the Moon than previously thought. And this changes scientists' understanding of how the Moon evolved over time.
The current magnetization of the Moon's surface, along with the presence of magnetite, could help explain how large meteorite impacts created the Moon's magnetic field, Guo says.< /p>
Focus has already written that NASA's lunar mission continues successfully and the Orion spacecraft is already returning to Earth after a flyby of the Moon. The ship even managed to take a series of images of our satellite, in which our planet is also visible.