Recently something big, yet relatively small in comparison, has been discoverd on Earth’s sole moon. Fewer hydrogen atoms scattering off the surface of the moon lead scientists to discover a very small magnetic field on the moon’s surface. Compared to Earth’s planet-wide magentic field and Mars’ multiple and splotchy fields, the one on the moon is very weak. Though it is weak, it can still act as a shield for some aspects of solar wind. It isn’t very large either, 360 km or 224 miles, but just large enough to put to good use.
“The mini magnetosphere revealed itself by fewer hydrogen atoms scattering off the surface of the moon. Generally when the solar wind rams into the airless surface of the moon, some hydrogen atoms scatter back into space. Any place with fewer of these atoms rising up from the moon is likely to be shielded magnetically, explained Wieser and his colleagues in their paper published in Geophysical Research Letters. ” “You can think of it as kind of a mini umbrella,” said Martin Wieser of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics in Kiruna, Sweden. “It will be effective for certain kinds of (space) weather.”
Though there is still debate on the origin or cause of the magetosphere, one thing is certain: it’s definitely there. Because of this lunar discovery, they may have found the perfect location to build a lunar base. With shielding from some of the Sun’s natural agression, this location may even prove sufficient to build other things such as lunar real estate in the far-future, or perhaps tourist attractions. Though this may seem far off in our world’s future, we have a start. There is something new for scientists to analyze and ponder, and something for us common-folk to revere and look forward to. Maybe someday we will meet the man on the moon, in the magnetosphere. :]
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