The Core of the Moon

Contemporary Science Issues and Innovations May 09, 2012 Belmont Media Center, Belmont MA

Benjamin Weiss, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Planetary Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Weiss’s lab

A key unknown in lunar science is to what extent the Moon is layered like the Earth, or an unmelted relic of the early solar system like many asteroids. In particular, did the Moon form a metallic core and an ancient magnetic field? The answer will shed light on the origin and evolution of the Moon as well as other small bodies throughout the solar system. Professor Weiss explains how a new era of intensive lunar investigation is settling the debate about the Moon’s evolution, and why this information is crucial to our understanding of the formation of the solar system. The very recent research has synthesized new results from spacecraft observations and studies of lunar rocks returned by the Apollo missions.

Professor Benjamin Weiss conducts laboratory magnetic studies on rocks from Mars, the Moon, and Earth to understand the evolution of planets, magnetism, and life. He uses SQUID microscopy, a new technique several orders of magnitude more sensitive than standard SQUID moment magnetometry that makes high-resolution magnetic maps of room temperature samples.

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