Lunar magnetic field observation and initial global mapping of lunar magnetic anomalies by MAP-LMAG onboard SELENE (Kaguya)

Hideo Tsunakawa, Hidetoshi Shibuya, Futoshi Takahashi, Hisayoshi Shimizu, Masaki Matsushima, Ayako Matsuoka, Satoru Nakazawa, Hisashi Otake, Yuichi Iijima

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84 Citations (Scopus)


The magnetic field around the Moon has been successfully observed at a nominal altitude of ∼100 km by the lunar magnetometer (LMAG) on the SELENE (Kaguya) spacecraft in a polar orbit since October 29, 2007. The LMAG mission has three main objectives: (1) mapping the magnetic anomaly of the Moon, (2) measuring the electromagnetic and plasma environment around the Moon and (3) estimating the electrical conductivity structure of the Moon. Here we review the instrumentation and calibration of LMAG and report the initial global mapping of the lunar magnetic anomaly at the nominal altitude. We have applied a new de-trending technique of the Bayesian procedure to multiple-orbit datasets observed in the tail lobe and in the lunar wake. Based on the nominal observation of 14 months, global maps of lunar magnetic anomalies are obtained with 95% coverage of the lunar surface. After altitude normalization and interpolation of the magnetic anomaly field by an inverse boundary value problem, we obtained full-coverage maps of the vector magnetic field at 100 km altitude and the radial component distribution on the surface. Relatively strong anomalies are identified in several basin-antipode regions and several near-basin and near-crater regions, while the youngest basin on the Moon, the Orientale basin, has no magnetic anomaly. These features well agree with characteristics of previous maps based on the Lunar Prospector observation. Relatively weak anomalies are distributed over most of the lunar surface. The surface radial-component distribution estimated from the inverse boundary value problem in the present study shows a good correlation with the radial component distribution at 30 km altitude by Lunar Prospector. Thus these weak anomalies over the lunar surface are not artifacts but likely to be originated from the lunar crustal magnetism, suggesting possible existence of an ancient global magnetic field such as a dynamo field of the early Moon. The possibility of the early lunar dynamo and the mechanism of magnetization acquisition will be investigated by a further study using the low-altitude data of the magnetic field by Kaguya.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-251
Number of pages33
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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