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Lunar geophysics: The Moon's fundamental shape and paleomagnetism studies

  • Author(s): Perera, Viranga
  • Advisor(s): Nimmo, Francis
  • Garrick-Bethell, Ian
  • et al.
Abstract

In this study we looked to characterize the fundamental shape of the Moon using topography and gravity data and we studied a lunar rock sample in order to measure its dominant magnetic moment. Studying the shape of the Moon would give us a better understanding of the large-scale geophysics that has led to the present state of the Moon and studying lunar rock samples helps us better understand if the observed magnetic fields on the Moon are due to a past global magnetic field. Our findings suggest that the Moon does have a prominent degree-2 shape that is explained by tidal heating and a frozen-in shape from its past tidal stretching. In addition, the rock sample we studied shows signs for a prominent magnetic signature that is likely the result of the rock cooling in an environment that was dominated by a lunar magnetic field.

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