Scientists have found new evidence that the Moon’s subsurface might be richer in metals, like iron and titanium, than previously thought.
The study, published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, sheds new light on the composition of the dust found at the bottom of the Moon’s craters.
Led by Essam Heggy from the University of Southern California, and the team members of the Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF) instrument on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission used radar to image and characterize this fine dust. They revealed that that the Moon’s subsurface may be richer in metals than scientists had believed.
By improving the understanding of what quantity metal actually the Moon’s subsurface has, scientists, can constrain the uncertainty about how it’s formed, how it’s evolving, and the way how it’s contributing to maintaining habitability on Earth,” Heggy said.
According to the researchers, the fine dust at rock bottom of the Moon’s craters is really ejected materials forced up from below the Moon’s surface during meteor impacts. While comparing the metal craters at the rock bottom of larger and deeper craters to that of the smaller and shallower ones, the team had found high metal concentrations along the deeper craters.
According to the researchers, the traditional hypothesis is that approximately 4.5 billion years ago there was a collision between Earth and a Mars-sized proto-planet (named Theia). Most scientists believe that that collision shot an outsized portion of Earth’s metal-poor upper class into orbit, eventually forming the Moon. One puzzling aspect of this theory of the Moon’s formation has been that it’s a better concentration of iron oxides than the earth–a fact well-known to scientists.
This particular research contributes to the sector therein it provides insights into a few sections of the Moon that have not been frequently studied and posit that there may exist at even higher concentrations of moon’s craters, deeper below the surface. It is possible, say the researchers that the discrepancy between the quantity of iron on the crust and therefore the Moon might be even greater than scientists thought, which pulls into question the present understanding of how the Moon was formed.
The team is planning in completing the additional observations on the radar of more crater floors within the Mini-RF experiment to verify the initial findings of the published investigation.