What Dwells Beneath the Moon’s Surface is Stunning Astronomers

Some people would say that scientists know everything about the Moon since they were able to land there almost half a century ago. But the truth is not so simple, as there is so much to learn even about our own planet Earth.

By using the Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF) instrument mounted on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft, scientists managed to gain precious data regarding what dwells beneath the surface of our natural satellite.

Richer in metals than initially thought

Any type of information regarding the Moon can be useful for astronomers, considering that NASA plans to return humans to the cosmic object by 2024 during the Artemis program. The space agency explained:

In the bright plains of the moon’s surface, called the lunar highlands, rocks contain smaller amounts of metal-bearing minerals relative to Earth,

That finding might be explained if Earth had fully differentiated into a core, mantle and crust before the impact, leaving the moon largely metal-poor. But turn to the moon’s maria — the large, darker plains — and the metal abundance becomes richer than that of many rocks on Earth.

Scientists now believe that the lunar subsurface could be richer in metals like titanium and iron than they initially thought. The scientists involved had been using Mini-RF for measuring the electrical property dielectric constant of the lunar soil. They found that the electrical properties were increasing with crater size in the case of craters approximately 1 to 3 miles wide. For bigger craters, the electrical property remained constant.

NASA further explained:

The larger craters, with their increased dielectric material, were also richer in metals, suggesting that more iron and titanium oxides had been excavated from the depths of 0.3 to 1 mile (0.5 to 2 kilometers) than from the upper 0.1 to 0.3 miles (0.2 to 0.5 kilometers) of the lunar subsurface,

The research was published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

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