The 1969 moon landing was one of the crowning achievements of mankind. And magnetic moon rocks were some of its most mysterious discoveries, showing that they hardened in the presence of a magnetic field.
But if the moon is billions of years old, it should not have had a magnetic field. It is too small to generate its own field. Ever since the moon landing, theorists have been trying to figure out how the moon could have been magnetized.
A recent report published in Nature suggested that perhaps the rotational axis of the moon’s core was misaligned with the rotational axis of its mantle. This system, pulled by earth’s gravity, could have acted as a “stirrer” and created turbulence inside the moon that might have generated a magnetic field.
The researchers’ model suggests that at first, the moon’s mantle and core would both have been molten and not magnetic. Much later, the core and hardening mantle mixed, making the moon magnetic. The Nature authors wrote that this “mechanically driven dynamo could persist for at least ~1.6Gyr [billion years].”1 Millions of years later, the moon had supposedly drifted far enough from the earth that the greater distance lessened the earth’s gravitational pull and “switched off” the magnetic generator….
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