Saturday, January 8, 2011

New View on the Moon's Core

Hey Space Placers!

You know the Moon is my favorite place in the whole Universe. I am always looking for news about our companion in space and came across a GREAT article that I want to share with you. Using Apollo era data from the Apollo Seismograph instruments left behind on the lunar surface and modern research techniques a a team of scientists has found the Moon has an Earth like core.

Quoting NASA's Press Release, "The team’s findings suggest the Moon possesses a solid, iron-rich inner core with a radius of nearly 150 miles and a fluid, primarily liquid-iron outer core with a radius of roughly 205 miles. Where it differs from Earth is a partially molten boundary layer around the  core estimated to have a radius of nearly 300 miles. The research indicates the core contains a small percentage of light elements such as sulfur, echoing new seismology research on Earth that suggests the presence of light elements -- such as sulfur and oxygen -- in  a layer around our own core."

Another BIG result of this research is that the lunar core provides evidence that supports the theory on how the Moon was formed - impact between Earth and a Mars size object billions of years ago.

NASA has future lunar missions slated to further study our Moon. NASA that "the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, is a NASA Discovery-class mission set to launch this year. The mission consists of twin spacecraft that will enter tandem orbits around the Moon for several months to measure the gravity field in unprecedented detail. The mission also will answer longstanding questions about Earth’s moon and provide scientists a better understanding of the satellite from crust to core, revealing subsurface structures and, indirectly, its thermal history."

Sky Guy in VA

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