State-of-the-art seismological techniques applied to Apollo-era data suggest our moon has a core similar to Earth’s. Uncovering details about the lunar core is critical for developing accurate models of the moon’s formation. The data sheds light on the evolution of a lunar dynamo — a natural process by which our moon may have generated and maintained its own strong magnetic field.
The team’s findings suggest the moon possesses a solid, iron-rich inner core with a radius of nearly 150 miles and a fluid, primarily liquid-iron outer core with a radius of roughly 205 miles. Where it differs from Earth is a partially molten boundary layer around the core estimated to have a radius of nearly 300 miles. The research indicates the core contains a small percentage of light elements such as sulfur, echoing new seismology research on Earth that suggests the presence of light elements — such as sulfur and oxygen — in a layer around our own core.
Image; A partial view of the Apollo 16 Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) in deployed configuration on the lunar surface as photographed during the mission’s first extravehicular activity (EVA-1), on April 21, 1972. The Passive Seismic Experiment (PSE) is in the foreground center; Central Station (C/S) is in center background, with the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) to the left. One of the anchor flags for the Active Seismic Experiment (ASE) is at right. high res (1.5 M) low res (116 K)
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