Solar wind ion sputtering is one of several non-negligible loss mechanisms for water ice in permanently shadowed regions (PSRs) near the lunar poles. Previous estimates of the solar wind ion flux within south polar PSRs have considered only the ambient solar wind flow and effects of topography. Here, improved maps of crustal magnetic fields in the lunar polar regions are constructed, confirming that more anomalies are present near the south pole than near the north pole. These anomalies have moderate amplitudes, occur over at least two permanently shadowed craters, and correlate approximately with the exposed water ice distribution. Because of the low angle of solar wind incidence near the poles, these anomalies are likely effective in reducing the ion flux, and any resulting water ice loss rate. These anomalies may therefore explain why more water ice is found near the south pole than near the north pole.
- lunar volatiles
- magnetic fields
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)