Romantics may think the Moon can create attraction, but few are aware that its crust is actually magnetic.
Until now there have been two long-standing theories of why that is the case.
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 huge meteor impacts.
Researchers from Curtin University, cooperating with international colleagues, appear to have debunked the latter of those two theories.
Curtin University’s Dr Katarina Miljkovic, from the Curtin Space Science and Technology Centre, said the new research expands on decades of work by other scientists.
“Our research is a deep numerical study that challenges that second theory – the impact-related magnetisation – and it essentially debunks it,” Dr Miljkovic said.
“We found that meteoroid impact plasmas interact much more weakly with the Moon compared to the magnetisation levels obtained from the lunar crust,” she said.
“This finding leads us to conclude that a core dynamo is the only plausible source of the magnetisation of the Moon’s crust.”
“Basically, we made a much more inclusive, high fidelity and high-resolution investigation that led to debunking of the older hypothesis,” Dr Miljkovic said.
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