An Indian spacecraft may have just discovered the first evidence of a ‘lunar quake’ since the 1970s.
The Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) instrument attached to the Vikram lander detected seismic activity on the Moon’s surface. moon August 26. Vikram landed on the lunar south pole on August 23 as part of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, India’s first mission to the lunar surface.
If confirmed, the lunar quake — detected by the mission along with other activities including the movements of India’s Pragyan rover — could give scientists a rare insight into the mysterious interior of Earth’s lunar companion.
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The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said the lander “recorded an apparently normal event, on August 26, 2023.” Written 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 had a complex geological structure hidden deep within, rather than being uniformly rocky like the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos.
In recent years, advanced analytical 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 2011 NASA study It was revealed that the Moon’s core, very similar to the Earth’s core, is likely composed of liquid iron surrounding a dense, solid iron ball.
In May 2023, researchers Gravity field data are used To confirm this iron core hypothesis, while also noting that blobs of molten mantle could be separated from the rest, float to the surface as clumps of iron and generate earthquakes as they go.
But these results are just the beginning of the moon’s secrets. Magnetic fields inside planetary bodies are produced by the undulating motion of material in the planets’ molten, electrically conductive cores.
Today’s interior is non-magnetic moon Quite different from Earth’s magnetized interior, it is dense and mostly frozen, with only a small liquid and molten outer core. Scientists believe the Moon’s interior cooled quickly and fairly evenly after it formed about 4.5 billion years ago, meaning it doesn’t have a strong magnetic field, and many scientists believe it never did.
So how could some 3-billion-year-old rocks exhumed during NASA’s Apollo missions appear to have been manufactured within a geomagnetic field strong enough to rival Earth’s?
It is such questions that Chandrayaan-3 can help answer. Because both the lander and rover are solar-powered, they are currently in sleep mode until the Moon emerges from its approximately 14-day night. When the sun hits the face of the moon’s south pole again on September 22, both instruments stand ready to search for answers.
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