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Unexplained Lunar Anomaly Puzzles Scientists on Far Side of the Moon

Scientists have encountered a perplexing anomaly on the far side of the moon, challenging their existing understanding of Earth’s celestial neighbor.

Two Hypotheses

Credit: The Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, named Danuri will take valuable measurements of the moon’s surface. (Image credit: Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI))

The Korean orbital spacecraft Pathfinder Lunor Orbiter, as part of the Danuri mission, made this enigmatic discovery, leaving scientists with two proposed hypotheses and a lack of concrete evidence to explain this unusual phenomenon.

The Moon’s Magnetic Mystery

Creddit: DepositPhotos

Over the course of a year, the Korean Aerospace Research Institute has conducted extensive research on the Moon using an orbiting spacecraft. Alongside two smaller NASA satellites, the Danuri mission has yielded significant findings about the Moon’s magnetic properties.

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Localized Magnetic Field

Credit: The astronaut on a background of a planet — Photo by Iurii

One of the most noteworthy revelations is that the Moon lacks a global magnetic field like Earth, despite having possessed one in the past. Instead, it exhibits localized magnetic fields, akin to Mars.

NASA Scientists Interested

Credit: DepositPhotos

These magnetic anomalies have captured the interest of planetary scientists to the extent that NASA is contemplating a dedicated mission to study them, utilizing two small satellites with Reiner Gamma Swirl offering detailed insights.

The Puzzling Far Side Anomaly

Credit: The spacecraft, launched Aug. 5 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, is currently looping back toward the moon from the L1 Lagrange point after successfully conducting a critical trajectory correction maneuver Sept. 2. Credit: Korea Aerospace Research Institute

In a surprising twist, Danuri’s observations indicated that the lunar far side exhibits a higher prevalence of magnetic fields, suggesting greater conductivity within the Moon’s interior.

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Making No Sense

Credit: DepositPhotos

Scientists have described this revelation as making no sense. To account for this anomaly, scientists have put forward two theories: the far side was hotter in the past or that there was more water beneath its surface. The latter theory, in particular, piques interest for potential resource exploration missions, although it remains unconfirmed.

An Array of Lunar Discoveries

Credit: DepositPhotos

The Danuri mission encompasses a range of scientific objectives. Equipped with a gamma-ray detector, the spacecraft captured the brightest gamma-ray burst ever recorded during its journey to the Moon in October 2022.

Possibility of Ice Being Studied

Credit: DepositPhotos

The mission also entails investigating the depths of craters near the Moon’s poles with a focus on the possibility of ice existence at their bottoms. ShadowCam, an instrument onboard Danuri, boasts exceptional sensitivity, enabling the capture of images in these areas using Earth’s light or scattered light from neighboring mountains.

Polarized Light Being Used

Credit: DepositPhotos

Furthermore, for the first time in this mission, cameras measuring polarized light were deployed to study the lunar surface’s magnetism.

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Mission Extension and Upcoming Challenges

Credit:DepositPhotos

Originally slated to conclude in December 2023, the Danuri mission has received a two-year extension. During this period, the spacecraft will encounter two lunar eclipses. While partial eclipses pose no threat to the orbiter, full eclipses could potentially deplete its battery.

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