According to the current study, lunar minerals could contain even more water than previously estimated. Lunar water is essential for building a base on the Moon.
There has been a general belief that Earth’s orbiting partner is bone dry since the 1960s and early ’70s when manned missions to the moon were launched. In the past two years, several lunar missions have shown that this isn’t necessarily true. Water molecules can be found in some lunar soils. However, where did the water come from on the moon? As well as helping us better understand the moon’s history and evolution, answering that question may also lead to a sustainable moon base that can be built in the future.
A study published in Nature Communication suggests that hydrogen ions bombarding the moon’s surface might have provided minerals in lunar soil with the substance critical for life. Earlier this year, Chinese researchers concluded that most of the water on the moon comes from its interior. In both studies, lunar samples taken from the moon’s Oceanus Procellarum basin in 2020 by China’s Chang’e-5 mission were used. According to a study in June, lunar soil has an average of 30 parts per million of water in the form of hydroxyl, which is a close chemical relative of water. It is possible, however, for lunar minerals to contain water in amounts of up to 179 parts per million. For every metric ton of soil containing one ppm of water, there would be about one gram of water.
According to the current study, lunar minerals could contain even more water than previously estimated. According to the new research, solar wind is also one of the key mechanisms for water on the surface of the moon. A study conducted by Chang’e-5 found that solar wind contributed to 170 ppm of water in lunar samples. Water derived from the solar wind is likely to be stored in minerals like pyroxene, plagioclase, and olivine. According to China Daily, researchers conclude that their findings will serve to understand how water evolves on the lunar surface and evaluate what effect solar wind protons have on water reservoirs on the surface.
The amount of water on the moon is still under debate among scientists. It comes from the solar wind, comets, and meteoroids that crash into the lunar surface, according to scientists: it was created in the moon’s interior when it was full of volcanic activity; it comes from volcanic activity, and it comes from comets and meteoroids. The Institute of Geology and Geophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences believes lunar samples from the Chang’e-5 mission may provide answers to these questions since they are much younger than those collected by US and Soviet moon missions. The Chinese samples were, therefore, less affected by other factors, so they make excellent samples for studying moon water.
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