A new study challenges existing ideas about the Moon’s internal structure

Scientists have long been fascinated by the mysteries of the Moon’s interior, and a new study challenges our current ideas about what lies beneath its cratered surface. According to researchers from Germany, the Czech Republic and the US, the lunar mantle may be solid throughout its entirety, without a molten layer as previously thought. This discovery could overturn our ideas about the formation of the Moon and its interior.

The Moon’s inner structure has been the subject of speculation for many years. While the Earth’s inner core has recently surprised scientists with its textured sphere and periodic rotation changes, the Moon’s inner core is still largely unknown. The clues to its formation are thought to lie in a partially molten layer beneath the crust, but a new study suggests that this layer may not be there at all.

The researchers compared two different models of the Moon’s interior to determine which one best explains the measurements and observations we have. They concluded that both a molten middle and a solid middle are still possible options based on the limited geologic data available. However, more lunar samples are needed to definitively solve this mystery.

The study focused on the tidal effects of the Moon on the Earth, which depend on the density, viscosity, and rigidity of its interior. By studying the exact shape and motion of the Moon using lunar laser ranging, scientists can infer what lies beneath its surface. One model suggests that a small portion of the lunar interior has melted, forming a thick layer of weak material buried deep beneath the surface. This explanation was originally proposed to reconcile strange measurements taken by lunar seismic stations installed during the Apollo missions.

However, a new analysis by researchers suggests an alternative explanation. They suggest that there may be no molten layer at all, and that the measured deformations of the Moon can be explained by the behavior of solid rock at relatively low temperatures. This casts doubt on existing ideas about the Moon’s interior and opens up new possibilities for further research.

Michaela Walterová, a planetary scientist involved in the study, emphasizes the need to obtain more lunar samples to solve this mystery. “At this stage, based on the limited geologic data we have, both molten and solid middles are still possible for the Moon,” she says.

The results of this study have important implications for our understanding of the formation of the Moon and its interior. Further research is needed to learn the truth about what lies beneath the Moon’s surface.”

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