Indian spacecraft may have just detected the first evidence of a “moonquake” since the 1970s.
The Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) instrument attached to the Vikram lander detected seismic activity on the lunar surface. moon 26 Aug. Vikram landed on the moon’s south pole on August 23 as part of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, India’s first mission to the lunar surface.
If confirmed, the moonquake – which the mission detected along with other activities including movements of India’s Pragyan spacecraft – could give scientists a rare insight into the mysterious interiors of Earth’s lunar companion.
Related: Why can we sometimes see the moon during the day?
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said the lander “recorded an event, which appears to be normal, on August 26, 2023”. Books on X, formerly Twitter. “The source of this event is under investigation.”
The Apollo lunar missions between 1969 and 1977 first detected seismic activity on the moon, proving that the moon has a complex geological structure hidden in its depths, rather than being uniformly rocky like the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos.
In recent years, advanced analysis tools and computer models have enabled scientists to sift through data collected by Apollo and other missions and build a clearer picture of the moon’s mysterious interior. a NASA study 2011 He revealed that the moon’s core, very similar to Earth’s core, is likely to be composed of liquid iron surrounding a solid, dense ball of iron.
In May 2023, researchers Gravitational field data are used To confirm this iron-core hypothesis, while also pointing out that blobs of the moon’s molten mantle could be separated from the rest, floating to the surface as lumps of iron and generating earthquakes as they went.
But these findings are just the beginning of the moon’s mysteries. Magnetic fields within planetary bodies are produced by the undulating motion of materials in the molten, electrically conductive cores of planets.
Today’s interior is magnetic moon Quite different from the bowels of the magnetized Earth, it is mostly dense and frozen, and contains only a small, liquid, molten outer core region. Scientists believe that the inner parts of the moon cooled quickly and fairly evenly after it was formed about 4.5 billion years ago, which means that it does not have a strong magnetic field, and many scientists believe that it never happened.
So how could some of the 3-billion-year-old rocks mined during NASA’s Apollo missions look as if they were synthesized inside a geomagnetic field strong enough to rival Earth’s?
It is such questions that Chandrayaan-3 can help answer. Since both the lander and rover are powered by solar energy, they are currently in sleep mode until the Moon emerges from its approximately 14-day night. When the sun hits the moon’s south pole face again on Sept. 22, both instruments stand ready to search for answers.