NASA study explains the existence of water on Moons lunar surface

17 Avril, 2019, 20:24 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Water spewed from Moon during meteor showers NASA

Providing a potential resource for future explorations, NASA on Monday revealed that water is released on the Moon during meteor showers. As a result, the lunar atmosphere is usually without water vapor.

However, a decade ago, trace amounts of water were discovered in the lunar non-polar areas, and recent observations by Cassini, Deep Impact, Lunar Prospector, and Chandrayaan-1 indicate the existence of an active water cycle on the Moon.

The remote robotic instrument was sent to the Moon to study the lunar orb's paper-thin atmosphere.

The incredible discovery was presented this week in the journal Nature Geosciences.

The water-releasing impacts occurred on January 9, April 2, April 5 and April 9 in 2014.

When the Apollo missions brought back samples from the moon, researchers analyzed them and found that the moon was formed without any native water.

"The Moon doesn't have significant amounts of H2O or OH in its atmosphere most of the time", said Richard Elphic, the LADEE project scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley.

The researchers suggested that meteoroid impacts kicked up these puffs of water from the moon, and said that four of these puffs were apparently caused by previously undetected meteoroid streams. "And then, when the event was over, the H2O or OH went away", Elphic said in a statement.

Lunar scientists often use the term "water" to refer to both H2O and OH. The LADEE spacecraft detects these water molecules as they enter the tenuous lunar atmosphere, with peaks in the water signal correlating to known meteor showers on Earth.

The 33 watery episodes that scientists spied via LADEE yield more detail, especially as they were spread across large swathes of the lunar surface.

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The impacts hit soil which is dry 3 inches (8cm) deep underneath which is a layer with about 0.05 per cent water content which is spewed out on impact. The liberated water either escapes to space or is redeposited elsewhere on the Moon.

One explanation is ionised hydrogen carried to the Moon on solar winds from the Sun could explain the presence of water.

Below this, they calculate that water is uniformly present at concentrations up to about 0.05%. This concentration is much drier than the driest terrestrial soil.

"It is so dry that one would need to process more than a metric ton of regolith in order to collect 16 ounces of water". But there's no concrete explanation about the distribution of water and its quantity on the lunar surface.

In September 2017, experts created the first map of water and its building blocks trapped in the uppermost portion of the Moon's soil.

The amounts of water detected by the sensors were far too high to have come from the meteorites themselves or from vaporized soil, the researchers suggest.

Earlier models had predicted that meteoroid impacts could release water from the Moon as a vapour, but scientists hadn't yet observed the phenomenon.

The lunar expert said it dates back to the Moon's formation or was deposited there "early in its history".

NASA is leading a sustainable return to the Moon with commercial and global partners to expand human presence in space and bring back new knowledge and opportunities.

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