What is inside the moon? A new study solves an old mystery

What is inside the moon?  A new study solves an old mystery
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iPhone: Tanya Banner

Does the moon have a solid or semi-liquid core inside it? A new study reveals the inner structure of the moon.

Nice – As our closest neighbor in space, the Moon has always been a fascinating research object for astronomers and astronauts. Despite the fact that man has already visited the moon, some of its secrets remain unsolved to this day. A question that is often discussed in research is what the interior of the Moon looks like. In particular, it concerns whether the moon has a semi-molten core or whether there is also a solid core inside.

Researchers use methods to study the interior of the moon that are also used to study the Earth’s interior. One such method is the evaluation of seismic waves. As part of NASA’s manned “Apollo” missions, a lunar seismometer was set up to provide data on the nature of the moon’s interior. These data indicate that the moon’s core may be partially liquid. However, the data is not accurate enough to draw firm conclusions about the nature of the moon’s core.

What is inside the moon? The study provides insight

in A study recently published in the journal nature A research team led by astronomer Arthur Briaud of the University of Côte d’Azur used data from space missions and geophysical measurements to learn more about the interior of the moon. The research group developed different computer models of the lunar core to see which scenario would best fit the data used. “Our results (…) prove the existence of an inner core,” the research team wrote in their study.

The results show that the moon not only has a solid inner core, but also has a structure similar to that of Earth. The outer layer of the inner part of the moon is semi-liquid and has a radius of about 362 kilometers. Within this layer is the solid inner core, which has a radius of about 258 kilometers and a density of about 7,822 kilograms per cubic meter – roughly the same density as iron. On the other hand, the semi-liquid outer core has a lower density of about 5025 kilograms per cubic meter.

A new study reveals the internal structure of the moon

These new findings give researchers a better understanding of the moon’s internal structure and may also help expand knowledge of other celestial bodies in the universe. “The existence of a solid inner core is crucial to understanding the mechanism that leads to the emergence or absence of a planetary magnetic field,” the study says.

The Moon is Earth's closest neighbor - and it still holds many secrets.
The Moon is Earth’s closest neighbor – and it still holds many secrets. © IMAGO / Nicolas Economou

By examining lunar rocks, researchers already know that the moon had a strong magnetic field about four billion years ago that disappeared about 3.2 billion years ago. In order to explain the formation of this magnetic field, researchers study the motions in the core of the celestial body. With the latest information about the nature of the moon’s core, they can discover why the moon’s magnetic field will disappear in the future.

Machine assistance was used in this editorial article. The article was carefully screened by editor Tanya Banner before it was published


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