Was the moon magnetized by impact plasmas?
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The crusts of the Moon, Mercury, and many meteorite parent bodies are magnetized. Although the magnetizing field is commonly attributed to that of an ancient core dynamo, a longstanding hypothesized alternative is amplification of the interplanetary magnetic field and induced crustal field by plasmas generated by meteoroid impacts. Here, we use magnetohydrodynamic and impact simulations and analytic relationships to demonstrate that although impact plasmas can transiently enhance the field inside the Moon, the resulting fields are at least three orders of magnitude too weak to explain lunar crustal magnetic anomalies. This leaves a core dynamo as the only plausible source of most magnetization on the Moon.
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