The swirls of Reiner Gamma in Oceanus Procellarum, shown in enhanced color from the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Wide Angle Camera.
Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

On the Moon “lunar swirls” are bright features that can be tens of miles across and appear as isolated individuals or in extensive groups or belts.

Lunar swirls are found where the lunar crust is magnetized, although not all magnetic areas have swirls. Furthermore, the bright areas in the swirls look to be less weathered than their surroundings.

NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Wide Angle Camera (WAC) view of Mare Ingenii.
Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

Those observations have led to several hypotheses about how lunar swirls are formed and several ideas about the separate question of the origin of the magnetized crust.

Is it possible that these tattoo-like oddities might help sustain a human presence on the Moon?









Go to my new story:

Could Weird Lunar Swirls Help People Settle the Moon?

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