Scientists have finally confirmed what’s inside the moon.

Scientists have officially confirmed the composition of the Moon.

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An extensive study released in May 2023 revealed that the interior core of the Moon is a compact sphere with a density comparable to that of iron. Researchers anticipate that this discovery will resolve a longstanding dispute on the composition of the Moon’s core, determining whether it is solid or liquid. Furthermore, it will contribute to a more precise comprehension of the Moon’s past and, consequently, the history of the whole Solar System.

“The group, led by Arthur Briaud an astronomer of the French National Centre for Scientific Research in France, has increased doubts about the expansion of the Moon’s magnetic field. Their findings confirm the presence of an inner core and support a theory of a global mantle overturn. This theory provides valuable information about the timeline of the intense bombardment that occurred on the Moon during the first billion years of the Solar System.”

Seismic data is the most efficient method for investigating the internal composition of objects in the Solar System. Scientists can utilize the propagation and reflection of acoustic waves caused by seismic activity to construct a comprehensive internal map of a planet or moon.

We possess lunar seismic data obtained from the Apollo expedition; nevertheless, its resolution is insufficient to precisely ascertain the condition of the inner core. While the existence of a fluid outer core is established, there is ongoing disagreement over its exact composition and extent. Both models, one with a solid inner core and the other with a completely fluid core are equally effective in explaining the Apollo data.

To definitively determine the answer, Briaud and his colleagues gathered data from space missions and lunar laser range studies to create a comprehensive profile of several lunar attributes. These factors encompass the extent of its distortion due to gravitational forces exerted by Earth, the fluctuations in its proximity to Earth, and its density.

Subsequently, they performed modeling using several core types to see which one closely corresponded to the observational data.

They discovered many intriguing conclusions. Firstly, the prevailing theories of the Moon suggest that there is a process of active overturn occurring deep under its mantle. This indicates that the more compact substance within the Moon gravitates toward the core, while the less compact substance ascends towards the surface. This activity has been suggested as a means of elucidating the occurrence of specific elements in volcanic areas of the Moon. The team’s research contributes an additional point to the accumulation of evidence supporting the argument.

It was discovered that the lunar core closely resembles that of Earth, consisting of an outer layer of fluid and a solid inner core. According to their modeling, the external core has a radius of about 362 kilometers (225 miles), whereas the internal core has a radius of about 258 kilometers (160 miles). That corresponds to around 15 percent of the total radius of the Moon.

The researchers discovered that the inner core had a density of around 7,822 kilograms per cubic meter. That is about equivalent to the density of iron.

In 2011, a team led by NASA Marshall planetary scientist Renee Weber discovered a comparable outcome by employing advanced seismological techniques on Apollo data to examine the lunar core. They discovered proof of a compact central nucleus of around 240 kilometers in radius, with a density of roughly 8,000 kilograms per cubic meter.

Briaud and his team assert that their findings match the previous research and provide compelling evidence for the existence of an Earth-like core on the moon. Furthermore, this has noteworthy ramifications for the evolutionary process of the Moon.

Shortly after its formation, the Moon possessed a robust magnetic field that began to diminish some 3.2 billion years ago. The generation of such a magnetic field is attributed to the movement and convection in the lunar core. Therefore, understanding the composition of the lunar core is crucial in determining the cause and mechanism behind the disappearance of the magnetic field.

Considering humanity’s desire to promptly return to the Moon, it is possible that we will not have to wait for an extended period to obtain seismic confirmation of these discoveries.

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