In 2018, NASA astronomers received the first report of water ice on the moon. On the dark side of the crescent moon to the north and south of the moon, the snow is frozen in constant shade and seems to have been untouched by the sun’s rays, for millions of years. years.
The availability of water ice came with a new mystery, however. Although these polar holes are shielded from direct sunlight, they are not shielded from the sun, waves of material that are bound to erupt from the sun at hundreds of miles per second. This ionized wind is very erosive and should have destroyed the lunar ice in the past, Paul Lucey, an earth scientist at the University of Hawaii, said. said Science (opens on new page). And different EarthThe moon does not have a magnetic shield to prevent it from being harmed by these defendants.
Then, how did the polar ice of the moon survive? A new map of the south pole of the moon – and one bag of wet machine (opens on new page) lying there – can provide an answer.
Pili: Every missionary per month
In research presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference last month, scientists from the University of Arizona sharing their map (opens on new page) magnetic anomalies – parts of the moon’s surface that are exposed to other strong magnetic fields – are scattered on the south side of the moon. These anomalies, first seen in the Apollo 15 and 16 missions in 1970, are thought to be a remnant of the moon’s ancient magnetic shield, which disappeared billions of years ago. such as NASA (opens on new page).
Magnetic anomalies are associated with large polar holes that remain in constant shade or contain old ice deposits. According to the researchers, these anomalies could serve as small barriers to prevent the moon’s ice from the constant blowing of the sun.
“These anomalies can prevent solar wind,” Lon Hood, an earth scientist at the University of Arizona, told the scientist. “We think they’re important in protecting areas that are constantly covered.”
In their research, the authors collected 12 maps of the southern pole of the moon, originally recorded by Japan’s Kaguya spacecraft, which orbited the moon from 2007 to 2009. There in aircraft science equipment a magnetometer can detect the bags of magnetism in the center of the moon. Surface.
With their hand -held map, the researchers found that the magnetic anomalies were covered with two permanently hidden caves – the Shoemaker pit and Sverdrup – in the southern pole of the moon. While these anomalies are only a fraction of the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field, they can “significantly reverse the ion damage” of the solar wind, the researchers said in their report. (The group’s research was not published in a peer -reviewed journal.) That may be the key to the moon’s permanent ice.
It is not clear where the moon’s magnetic anomalies come from. One idea is that they were in the past about 4 billion years, and when the moon had a magnetic field of its own, according to a 2014 paper written by Hood in Encyclopedia of Lunar Science (opens on new page) manual When large asteroids with iron fell on the moon today, they may have created magma skins that have slowly cooled over hundreds of years, and become constantly enchanted by the moon in the universe. process.
Future lunar missions could illuminate the moon’s dark icebergs. The Artemis missions, which will return humans to the moon’s surface for the first time since 1972, plan to land astronauts on the south pole and establish a base there. Studying the icebergs in this country can show how they work and why they take so long.
Read more about this ancient magnetic field at Science (opens on new page).
Originally published on Live Science.