Lunar Swirls


NASA has announced a novel mission using CubeSats to study the surface of the Moon.  One of the primary goals is to better understand the mysterious "lunar swirls", the light-and-dark markings independent of changes in lunar terrain.

These swirls are not very well understood, but they appear to correspond to areas with anomalously high crustal magnetic fields.  These fields jump dramatically from the average surface magnetic field value, going from ~1nT to over 100nT in a very short space.*

The lighter areas of the swirls are also known to be less weathered than their surroundings, possibly "shielded" from solar winds due to these high and localized magnetic fields.  The reasons are unknown for now, but perhaps this new NASA mission can help to elucidate them.


*As is to be expected, I only found spectacularly unhelpful maps of Lunar magnetic field strength.  This is now my next lunar mapping project.

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