Astronomers have long been trying to figure out whatlocated in the bowels of the moon. Back in the first half of the last century, long before man began to conquer space, the structure of the satellite became a subject of controversy for scientists. Some argued that the Moon has a complex structure, while others were sure that it is a homogeneous rocky body, similar to the satellites Phobos and Deimos, revolving around Mars. During the Apollo missions, NASA scientists first discovered evidence that the interior of the moon is similar in structure to the Earth. The astronauts even left seismometers behind, as they suspected that lunar earthquakes could occur on the satellite. And, as it turned out, they were right - the Moon does show seismic activity. Now scientists have found evidence that the moon contains a core consisting of two layers - liquid and solid.
What is inside the core of the moon
Scientists have long known that the Earth's satellitehas a core, but for a long time there were disputes as to whether it is liquid or solid. In 2011, a team of NASA scientists used the most advanced seismological techniques at the time to figure out the structure of the lunar core, based on data collected by various probes, as well as from the Apollo mission. The study showed that the Moon contains a solid inner core with a radius of about 240 kilometers and a density of about 8000 kg/m3.
However, the resolution of the Apollo data is very low,therefore, it is very difficult to accurately determine the internal structure of the nucleus. The only thing that can be argued is that the Moon has a liquid outer core, which has been established as a result of many studies. To finally understand what is inside it, this time a group of scientists from the French National Center for Scientific Research used data obtained as a result of laser location.
Based on this information, a profile was createdvarious characteristics of the moon. These characteristics include deformation as a result of the gravitational attraction of our planet, a change in the distance to the Earth, density, etc. Then the scientists created computer models of the Moon with different types of nuclei and compared which nucleus most closely matches the real characteristics of the satellite.
The models of the moon turned out to be the most realistic,which showed that she had a core similar to that of the earth. That is, the outer layer was liquid, as previously assumed, and the inner part was solid. Moreover, it is quite possible that the inner core is composed of iron. Its density is 7822 kg per cubic meter. This value is close to the data obtained earlier.
The simulation also showed that the outer coremay have a radius of over 360 kilometers. The inner core has a radius of about 258 kilometers. This is approximately 15% of the radius of the entire moon. Scientists report this in their study, published in the journal Nature.
What happened in the bowels of the moon
Simulations have shown that inside the lunar mantlethere was a "revolution". That is, the dense and heavy material in the molten magma descended towards the center of the satellite, while the lighter and less dense material rose closer to the surface. It must be said that these processes have long been assumed, since they explain the presence of certain elements in the volcanic rocks of the Moon. The same processes can also explain the presence of iron in the nuclear structure.
Many previous studies of the moon have shown thatonce the satellite had a strong magnetic field, which was not inferior in power to the Earth's magnetic field. The new study is quite consistent with this statement. What's more, it could help scientists understand why the Moon lost its magnetic field. Recall that recently scientists actually found out the reason for the loss of the magnetic field by Mars thanks to the study of the core of Mars. As it turned out, the Martian core is very different in structure and composition from the core of the Earth.
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Overall, this study correlates withmany earlier works of scientists and allows you to build a logical chain regarding the structure and geological past of the Moon. However, it should be noted that all conclusions are based on simulations. This means that it is still too early to put an end to the issue of the structure of the nucleus. The final conclusions can be drawn only on the basis of studies carried out directly on the Moon. But, judging by the fact that people are going to return to the satellite in the near future, it will not be long to wait for accurate data.