Title

Absence of a long-lived lunar paleomagnetosphere

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-1-2021

Department

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences; Department of Physics

Abstract

Determining the presence or absence of a past long-lived lunar magnetic field is crucial for understanding how the Moon’s interior and surface evolved. Here, we show that Apollo impact glass associated with a young 2 million–year–old crater records a strong Earth-like magnetization, providing evidence that impacts can impart intense signals to samples recovered from the Moon and other planetary bodies. Moreover, we show that silicate crystals bearing magnetic inclusions from Apollo samples formed at ∼3.9, 3.6, 3.3, and 3.2 billion years ago are capable of recording strong core dynamo–like fields but do not. Together, these data indicate that the Moon did not have a long-lived core dynamo. As a result, the Moon was not sheltered by a sustained paleomagnetosphere, and the lunar regolith should hold buried 3He, water, and other volatile resources acquired from solar winds and Earth’s magnetosphere over some 4 billion years.

Publication Title

Science Advances

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