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This is an image of the Moon showing various minerals found on the surface.
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NASA

The Moon's Remnant Magnetism

Although the Moon does not appear to have a magnetosphere surrounding it, it *is* a magnetic object in space. Scientists think that the magnetism of the Moon's surface is leftover from a time when the Moon's magnetic field was actively created within the lunar core, and that this leftover magnetism may gradually erode away.

Some regions of the Moon's surface are more magnetic than others. A strip of the lunar crust called the Rima Sirsalis seems to be very strongly magnetic. Measurements of the uneveness of the magnetism and depth of the lunar crust such as those being made by the Lunar Prospector mission can supply information about the magnetism of the surface, as well as the size and electrical activity of the lunar core. Ultimately these measurements will help scientists better understand the Moon's origins. For example, if the core contains more magnetic elements (such as iron) than the Earth, then the collision/ejection theory of lunar origin loses some support.


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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF