Washington, Sept 24 (ANI): Scientists have discovered that magnetized regions called magnetic anomalies, mostly on the far side of the Moon, strongly deflected the solar wind, shielding the Moon's surface.
This will help understand the solar wind behaviour near the lunar surface and how water may be generated in its upper layer.
Surfaces of atmosphere-less bodies are exposed without any shielding by a dense atmosphere or magnetosphere - causing them to be heavily weathered by meteoroids or the solar wind, forming a very rough and chaotic surface called regolith. significant flux of high-energy particles was found to originate from the lunar surface, most probably due to the solar wind directly reflected off the Moon's regolith.
"These results may change dramatically the way we understood the solar wind-regolith interaction so far," said Dr. Futaana of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics.
"It will be possible to remotely investigate the solar wind-surface interaction on other airless bodies, such as Mercury or the Martian moon Phobos, by imaging the energetic hydrogen atoms that are reflected back to space when the solar wind hits their surface," he added.
However, when Chandrayaan-1 flew over a magnetic anomaly on the lunar surface, the scientists detected significantly less reflected hydrogen atoms, meaning that the solar wind had not reached the lunar surface.
In fact, the solar wind was found strongly deflected by an aggregation of magnetic anomalies in the southern hemisphere of the lunar far side.
"We detected a strong flux of deflected solar wind protons. This clearly indicates that magnetic anomalies can shield the lunar surface from the incoming solar wind, in the same way as the magnetospheres of several planets in our solar system," said Dr. Futaana. (ANI)