Solid Core of the Moon: New Evidence Uncovered

1 min

Data analysis from multiple sources used to create descriptive models of the Moon’s interior reveals…

Moon, solid core, data analysis, Earth’s natural satellite, iron-rich materials, lunar crust

New evidence has emerged, suggesting that the Earth’s natural satellite, the Moon, also has a solid core. Researchers have used data analysis from various sources to create descriptive models of the Moon’s interior, shedding light on this groundbreaking discovery.

In addition to the solid core, the researchers present evidence in the journal Nature that explains the presence of iron-rich materials in the lunar crust. Although the Moon’s formation and evolution are still debated, its deep internal structure has been established. More than fifty years after the first space missions to the Moon, there is no doubt that it has a solid inner core surrounded by a fluid outer core, similar to Earth.

This hypothesis has been confirmed through the efforts of scientists from CNRS, Université Côte d’Azur, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, Sorbonne Université, and Observatoire de Paris-PSL. About twenty years after identifying a fluid outer core, the team has revealed the existence of a solid inner core with a diameter of around 500 km (310 miles), which is approximately 15% of the Moon’s total size. The core is made of a metal with a density close to that of iron.

Several methods, particularly those related to the Moon’s rotation, had already clearly identified the fluid outer core. However, the solid core remained undetectable due to its small size. Its existence has now been demonstrated using data from various space missions and lunar laser ranging, as reported by CNRS.

In addition to this significant discovery, various pieces of evidence identified by scientists seem to support the hypothesis of material movement within the mantle, the intermediate layer between the core and the crust, during the Moon’s evolution. This phenomenon, known as the lunar mantle overturn, helps explain the presence of iron-rich elements on the Moon’s surface. How did this process occur? Material may have risen to the surface, producing volcanic rocks that were deposited in the lunar crust. Subsequently, materials that were too dense compared to the surrounding crust material sank to the core-mantle boundary.

This research contributes significantly to our understanding of the solar system’s history and certain events, such as the disappearance of the lunar magnetic field. The Moon’s magnetic field was originally a hundred times stronger than Earth’s current field but is now almost non-existent, according to the authors.

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