The solar wind has become a source of lunar water


16/10/2012

A new analysis of soil samples delivered from the apparatus moon "Apollo" revealed that the source of water in it is likely to solar wind. The information was published in the journal Nature Geoscience, a summary of the work can be found on the website of the University of Michigan.

The researchers studied samples of lunar soil, which was formed as a result of falling meteorites - glass agglutinates - on the moon’s surface. They make up about half the mass of soil found on the surface of the moon. Their composition of authors studied by infrared spectroscopy, and tandem mass spectrometry.

Scientists were able to show that the content of hydroxyl ions OH-in the lunar rocks greatly increased. This material is formed by material falling into the hydrogen ion - a proton (H +), brought to the moon by the solar wind. Capturing oxygen from the lunar soil, promotes the formation of a proton is stable particles - hydroxyl ions, which recombine into water H20 interaction with another proton.

Scientists also showed similarity isotopic composition of hydrogen in the hydroxyl ions to the composition present in the solar wind. This indirectly confirms the "solar" the origin of water on the moon. According to the alternative hypothesis of a comet that fell once on the surface of the satellite, the source of water on the moon.

According to scientists, the mechanism of formation of the solar wind and the water can run on the other bodies that have no atmosphere on Mercury, for example, or on the gigantic asteroid Vesta.

Water, its presence and origin, is probably one of the central themes of research scientists around the world, dealing with the Moon. By the satellite was launched in 2009 LCROSS machine to analyze the composition of the soil, taken from the bottom of the crater Cabeus, there descended the upper stage. A similar experiment was conducted in 2008, Chandrayaan-1 device.


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