Can the solar wind be reflected off of the Moon or otherwise re-directed back towards the Earth?


The answer to this is probably no. Direct reflection by 'bouncing' the wind mechanically off of the lunar surface is not to my knowledge consistent with the data which suggests that the surface material traps the solar wind atoms into the crystalline structure much like bullets are trapped by a sand bag. I am not, however, an expert on these matters so I cannot quote you specific facts to support this statement. I quote from Margaret Kivelson and Christopher Russell's 'Introduction to Space Physics' page 203, which says:

"A body like our moon, composed of insulating material and submerged in a 
flowing plasma, simply absorbs the particles of the plasma that are incident 
on the body"
Planets such as Mercury and Venus have 'bow shocks' where the solar wind produces a stand-off shock pointed towards the sun, but the incoming particles are not reflected by this shock. A similar situation would apply to the Moon.

The Moon is an electrodynamically neutral body with no magnetic field, so there is no way for it to 'couple' its effects to the earth's magneto tail plasma via a magnetic field interaction.


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All answers are provided by Dr. Sten Odenwald (Raytheon STX) for the
NASA IMAGE/POETRY Education and Public Outreach program.