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Scientists stumped by mysterious anomaly found on far side of Moon

Scientists stumped by mysterious anomaly found on far side of Moon Illustrative photo (Photo: Freepik)
Author: Daria Shekina

The Korean orbital spacecraft Pathfinder Lunor Orbiter during the Danuri mission encountered a peculiar anomaly that challenged prior understandings of the satellite. Scientists have proposed two hypotheses to explain this unusual phenomenon, yet neither of them has substantial evidence backing it, reports IFLScience.

What scientists discovered on the Moon

For a year now, the Korean Aerospace Research Institute has been studying the Moon with an orbiting spacecraft.

The primary finding of the Danuri mission, along with two smaller NASA satellites, is that the Moon lacks a global magnetic field like Earth, although it once had one. However, similar to Mars, it does possess certain localized fields.

These magnetic anomalies on the Moon have intrigued planetary scientists so much that NASA is considering a mission solely dedicated to their study, using two small satellites. One of them, Reiner Gamma Swirl, provides exceptional detail.

Unexpectedly, Danuri revealed that the magnetic fields are more prevalent on the lunar far side, indicating greater conductivity within the Moon. Professor Ian Garrik-Bethell from the University of California, Santa Cruz, mentioned that this "doesn't make sense." Scientists have proposed two theories to explain the anomaly: that the far side was hotter previously, or that there was more water beneath the surface on this side.

The latter theory sparks significant interest in future missions that will search for valuable resources on the satellite. However, there is currently no confirmation for this theory.

Scientists stumped by mysterious anomaly found on far side of Moon

Scientists have discovered an anomaly on the far side of the Moon (Photo: NASA)

Other discoveries made by the Danuri

The mission also is also equipped with a gamma-ray detector, allowing it to capture the brightest gamma-ray burst of all time while en route to the Moon in October 2022.

The project also involves investigating the depths of craters near the Moon's poles. This intrigues astronomers as it's believed that ice might survive at the bottom. ShadowCam from Dunari is so sensitive that it can capture images of these areas using Earth's light or the scattered light from neighboring mountains far better than any previous attempts.

Additionally, for the first time within this mission, cameras measuring polarized light were used as a way to study the magnetism of the lunar surface.

It's worth noting that the mission was initially planned to conclude in December 2023 but has been extended for an additional two years. During this time, two lunar eclipses are expected. Partial eclipses pose no harm to the orbiter, but full eclipses could drain its battery.

Previously, we discussed scientists predicting the demise of our planet - here's what its last days might look like.

Also, read about the traces of life discovered in an ancient lake on Mars.