Lunar Global Heat Flow: Predictions And Constraints
The global thermal state of the Moon provides fundamental information on its bulk composition and interior evolution. The Moon is known to have a highly asymmetric surface composition [e.g. Lawrence et al., 2003] and crustal thickness [Wieczorek et al.,2012], which is suspected to result from interior asymmetries [Wieczorek and Phillips, 2000; Laneuville et al., 2013]. This is likely to cause a highly asymmetric surface heat flux, both past and present. Our understanding the thermal evolution and composition of the bulk moon therefore requires a global picture of the present lunar thermal state, well beyond our two-point Apollo era measurement. As on the on the Earth, heat flow measurements need to be taken in carefully selected locations to truly characterize the state of the planet's interior. Future surface heat flux and seismic observations will be affected by the presence of interior temperature and crustal radiogenic anomalies, so placement of such instruments is critically important for understanding the lunar interior. The unfortunate coincidence that Apollo geophysical measurements lie areas within or directly abutting the highly radiogenic, anomalously thin-crusted Procellarum region highlights the importance of location for in situ geophysical study [e.g. Siegler and Smrekar, 2014]. Here we present the results of new models of global lunar geothermal heat flux. We synthesize data from several recent missions to constrain lunar crustal composition, thickness and density to provide global predictions of the surface heat flux of the Moon. We also discuss implications from new surface heat flux constraints from the LRO Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment and Chang’E 2 Microwave Radiometer. We will identify areas with the highest uncertainty to provide insight on the placement of future landed geophysical missions, such as the proposed Lunar Geophysical Network, to better aim our future exploration of the Moon.