New international research into the Moon provides scientists with insights as to how and why its crust is magnetised, essentially ‘debunking’ one of the previous longstanding theories.
Australian researcher and study co-author Dr Katarina Miljkovic, from the Curtin Space Science and Technology Centre, located within the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Curtin University, explained how the new research, published by Science Advances, expands on decades of work by other scientists.
“There are two long term hypotheses associated with why the Moon’s crust might be magnetic: One is that the magnetisation is the result of an ancient dynamo in the lunar core, and the other is that it’s the result of an amplification of the interplanetary magnetic field, created by meteoroid impacts,” Dr Miljkovic said.
“Our research is a deep numerical study that challenges that second theory — the impact-related magnetisation — and it essentially ‘debunks’ it. We
Earth could have lost anywhere between ten and 60 per cent of its atmosphere in the collision that is thought to have formed the Moon.
New research led by Durham University, UK, shows how the extent of atmospheric loss depends upon the type of giant impact with the Earth.
Researchers ran more than 300 supercomputer simulations to study the consequences that different huge collisions have on rocky planets with thin atmospheres.
Their findings have led to the development of a new way to predict the atmospheric loss from any collision across a wide range of rocky planet impacts that could be used by scientists who are investigating the Moon’s origins or other giant impacts.
They also found that slow giant impacts between young planets and massive objects could add significant atmosphere to a planet if the impactor also has a lot of atmosphere.
MoonRanger, a small robotic rover being developed by Carnegie Mellon University and its spinoff Astrobotic, has completed its preliminary design review in preparation for a 2022 mission to search for signs of water at the moon’s south pole.
Whether buried ice exists in useful amounts is one of the most pressing questions in lunar exploration, and MoonRanger will be the first to seek evidence of it on the ground. If found in sufficient concentration at accessible locations, ice might be the most valuable resource in the solar system, said William “Red” Whittaker, University Founders Research Professor in the Robotics Institute.
“Water is key to human presence on and use of the moon,” explained Whittaker, who is leading development
If you had a few billion dollars and some of the most talented space scientists and engineers in the world, where would you go?
There’s no wrong answer, really. Even if you narrow it down to just the outer solar system — planets, moons, rings and other cosmic rubble — you’ll never get bored. But that abundance of solar system destinations has downsides, of course, since there’s little chance of ever flying all the missions scientists can dream of. But dreaming up those missions anyway is a vital piece of space exploration, and one that scientists do regularly.
Scientists have found fresh evidence in lunar rocks showing that the moon was likely formed after a Mars-sized planet crashed into the proto-Earth more than 4 billion years ago.
A NASA-led team examined moon rocks brought back to Earth by Apollo astronauts more than 50 years ago. Investigating the samples with advanced tools not available to researchers in the 1960s and 1970s, the team found further evidence of the “giant impact theory” by focusing on the amount and type of chlorine in the rocks, a new study reports.
NASA is still targeting the moon’s south pole for a crewed landing in 2024 — but that timeline will be difficult to achieve if Congress doesn’t open its purse strings, and fast, agency chief Jim Bridenstine said.
During a presentation with NASA’s Lunar Exploration Analysis Group last Monday, Bridenstine seemed to suggest that the agency is open to a more equatorial site for the 2024 touchdown, a key milestone in NASA’s Artemis program of crewed lunar exploration.
That would be a big shift for NASA, which has long stressed that the first crewed moon landing since the Apollo days would come near the south pole, where lots of water ice lurks on permanently shadowed crater floors. But Bridenstine just clarified that his earlier words about the 2024 mission, known as Artemis 3, were purely hypothetical.
Related: See the moon like the Apollo astronauts with these epic panoramic photos