Water from the Sun Found on the Moon: ScienceAlert

Water from the Sun Found on the Moon: ScienceAlert

A new analysis of the recovered dust the moon suggests that water bound to the lunar surface could originate with the Sun.

More specifically, it could be the result of the bombardment of hydrogen ions from the solar wind, which crash into the lunar surface, interact with mineral oxides and bond with the displaced oxygen. The result is water that could be hidden in the lunar regolith in significant quantities at mid and high latitudes.

This has implications for our understanding of the origin and distribution of water on the Moon, and may even be relevant to our understanding of the origins of water on Earth.

The Moon looks like a pretty dry ball of dust, but recent studies have found that there is one much more water up there than anyone has ever suspected. It’s obviously not floating in lakes and ponds; is bound to the lunar regolithpossibly lurking like ice in permanently shadowed cratersand kidnapped to globules of volcanic glass.

This naturally leads to questions such as how much water is there exactly? How is it distributed? And where the hell did it come from? The last question probably has several answers.

A part might have come asteroid impacts Some of the Earth. A possible source, however, is not the first thing that comes to mind when one imagines cosmic rain clouds.

To be fair, the Sun isn’t exactly dripping with moisture, but its wind is certainly a reliable source of high-velocity hydrogen ions. Evidence that includes an analysis of lunar dirt from the Apollo missions has previously raised the strong possibility that the solar wind is responsible for at least some of the ingredients of the Moon’s water.

Now, a team of researchers led by geochemists Yuchen Xu and Heng-Ci Tian of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has found chemistry in grains recovered by the Chang’e-5 mission that further supports a solar source of lunar water.

They studied 17 grains: 7 of olivine, 1 of pyroxene, 4 of plagioclase and 5 of glass. All this, unlike the samples of low latitudes collected by Apollo and Luna, from a middle latitude region of the Moon, and collected from the youngest known lunar volcanic basalt, from the driest basaltic basement.

Using Raman spectroscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, they studied the chemical composition of the edges of these grains: the outer, 100-nanometer. grain husk which is more exposed to the space climate and therefore more altered compared to the interior of the grain.

Most of these rims showed a very high hydrogen concentration of 1,116 to 2,516 parts per million and very low deuterium/hydrogen isotope ratios. These ratios are consistent with the ratios of these elements found in the solar wind, suggesting that the solar wind struck the Moon, depositing hydrogen on the lunar surface.

They found that the solar wind-derived water content present at the Chang’e-5 landing site should be about 46 parts per million. This is consistent with remote sensing measurements.

To determine whether hydrogen could be preserved in lunar minerals, the researchers conducted heating experiments on some of their grains. They discovered that after burial, grains can retain hydrogen.

Finally, the researchers performed simulations on the preservation of hydrogen in the lunar soil at different temperatures. This revealed that temperature plays an important role in the implantation, migration and degassing of hydrogen on the Moon. This implies that a significant amount of water derived from the solar wind could be retained in mid- and high latitudes, where temperatures are cooler.

A model based on these findings suggests that the polar regions of the Moon could be much richer in water created by the solar wind, information that could be very useful in planning future lunar exploration missions.

“Polar lunar soils could contain more water than Chang’e-5 samples,” says cosmochemist Yangting Lin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“This discovery is of great importance for the future utilization of water resources on the Moon. In addition, by sorting and heating particles, it is relatively easy to exploit and use the water contained in the lunar soil.”

The research was published in PNAS.

#Water #Sun #Moon #ScienceAlert

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