Recent tests on a rock from the Moon brought back by Apollo 15 astronauts revealed surprising evidence indicating a magnetic field on the moon between 1 billion and 2.5 billions years ago.

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Scientists suspected the moon had a powerful magnetic field around 3.6 billion years ago when it abruptly disappeared.  These new findings, published in Science Advances in August, suggest the field did continue for another billion years, but at a fraction of it’s old self.

Sonia Tikoo

The team from Rutgers University, led by researcher Sonia Tikoo preformed a series of experiments, namely argon-dating the rock and using a magnetometer to measure the magnetic field within the rock.  The findings have led to a new theory, with researchers suspecting a single event – perhaps the tug of the Earth – originally powered the Moon’s young and strong magnetic field, with the Moon’s eventual and slow cooling causing a dim but consistent field for years later.

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