How is the general distribution of magnetic field on the Moon?  Is it strong at the poles or something?

I’m sorry to report that the Moon has no internal dynamo which would support a sustained magnetic field.  There are several localized areas on the Moon which have small, highly varied magnetic fields associated with them, and the current thought (though not proven) is that these areas with magnetic field were created through impacts from meteorites/comets/etc.  However, these small, localized magnetic fields are almost entirely crustal in origin and are not large enough to protect anyone from the hostile environment created by high energy solar or galactic particles.  For more information, please see Hood, L. L., and Z. Huang (1991). “Formation of magnetic anomalies antipodal to lunar impact basins: Two-dimensional model calculations”. J. Geophys. Res. 96: 9837-9846

Brad Bailey

NLSI Staff Scientist

April 16, 2009

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