Moon of earth is more metal than scientists have imagined.
NASA is productive Moon reconnaissance orbiter (LRO) found ample evidence of iron and titanium oxides under the lunar surface, which may be closely related to the early history of the earth.
Scientists have been discussing the formation of the moon for decades. The leading theory suggests this A Martian-sized world collided with the earth billions of years ago. The colliding world collapsed upon impact and blasted part of the surface of the proto-earth into space. The rubble surrounded the earth with a ring; The moon we see today is the result of this ring that is slowly collapsing under its own gravity.
Connected: Amazing moon photos from NASA̵
However, the chemical composition of the moon shows no clear evidence for this theory. The highlands of the moon on the moon, visible from the earth as bright regions, have rocks with smaller amounts of metal-containing minerals compared to our planet.
That might make sense if the earth were already layeredwith heavier metals that have sunk to the core – with the exception that the dark Maria planes of the moon have formed at the same time and even have a higher metal frequency than the rocks of the earth.
LRO’s new findings could explain the discrepancy. The new research relies on a device called Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF), a radar probe that maps the moon’s geology, searches for water ice, and tests communication technologies.
The instrument scanned the area in the northern hemisphere of the moon for an electrical property called the dielectric constant. This constant is a number that compares the ability of a material to transmit electric fields with that of the room vacuum.
Electric field transmission is useful to find ice in the shadow of craterswhere it is protected from the heat of the sun. It can also identify areas where more metals such as iron and titanium oxides are exposed to the surface.
And the scientists found that the dielectric constant increased with the crater size, but only up to a certain point. Craters with a diameter between 2 and 5 kilometers showed that the dielectric constant increased steadily as the craters became larger. However, the constant remained constant for craters with a width between 5 and 20 km.
“It was a surprising relationship that we had no reason to believe would exist,” said Essam Heggy, co-researcher at the University of Southern California’s mini-RF experiments in Los Angeles and lead author of the new research, in a NASA statement.
The team’s theory was that the first few hundred feet (or meters) of the lunar surface contain few of these oxides, but a richer metal source is below. Then when meteors collide with the lunar surface and scrape off the upper layers, metals are exposed. This type of pattern would also explain low levels of metal in the Moon highland and higher frequencies in the darker and lower planes closer to the moon’s bedrock.
To test their work, the researchers compared the radar images on the crater floor of Mini-RF to metal oxide maps created by a series of missions: the LRO wide-angle camera, the Japanese Mission Selenological and Engineering Explorer (SELENE) (also known as Kayuga) and NASA’s Lunar Prospector. SELENE and Lunar Prospector no longer work, but their archive data is retained.
These observations showed that larger craters actually contained more metal, according to NASA, which the researchers believe supports their hypothesis about buried metal deposits that excavate meteors.
The results are even more intriguing given an enigmatic phenomenon reported on the moon by NASA’s GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) mission in 2019. Gravity measurements from the moon indicate that there is a lot of dense material That’s ten to a hundred miles (or kilometers) below the massive South Pole-Aitken Basin of the moon. The GRAIL results, paired with LRO’s new find, suggest that metals may be more concentrated in certain regions of the moon.
The LRO results are a small step to better understand how the moon was formed, as observations show how iron and titanium oxides are distributed under the moon’s northern hemisphere. The researchers will next examine the crater floors in the southern hemisphere to determine how much metal is present.
A Study based on research was released on Wednesday (July 1st) in Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.