Saturday, August 12, 2017


Article Written By: Kyle Tam


 Researchers at Rutgers University have discovered that the moon's magnetic field lasted at least a billion years longer than previously thought. This suggests that alien moons and planets could also have magnetic fields that survive much longer, potentially creating shelter for extraterrestrial life.
 Although it's no longer magnetically active today, analyses of Apollo mission moon rocks suggest that around 3.56 billion and 4.25 billion years ago, the moon's magnetic field ranged in strength from slightly less powerful than Earth's field to double Earth's current magnetic field. After that time, not much is known about what happened to the moon's magnetic field - did it die off slowly or did it abruptly cut off?
 By reexamining lunar rocks collected in the 70s, a rock was found that likely formed less than 3.2 billion years ago. These rocks are considered rare since very little volcanic activity occurred after that time period. This rock, called 15498, was formed during a cosmic impact that occurred on the moon 1 billion to 2.5 billion years old. By measuring the rock with a very sensitive magnetometer, it was found that the moon still harboured a weak magnetic field when this rock was created.
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Photo: HernĂ¡n Cañellas/Benjamin Weiss

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