Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Space Travel News  




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



MOON DAILY
A new, water-logged history of the Moon
By Marlowe HOOD
Paris (AFP) May 31, 2016


After the Apollo missions scooped up rocks from the Moon's surface and brought them home, scientists were convinced for decades that they had proof our nearest celestial neighbour was drier than a bone.

How wrong they were.

New technology detected water in those dusty samples nearly a decade ago, and a new study, published Wednesday, tells us how and when that water -- lots and lots of it -- likely wound up on the Moon.

In a word, asteroids.

After the Moon was born of a collision between Earth and a Mars-sized planet some 4.5 billion years ago, it was bombarded with water-rich asteroids known as carbonaceous chondrites for tens of millions of years, perhaps longer.

So was Earth, which is one reason the findings, published in Nature Communications, are of more than academic interest.

"The Moon can be viewed as a giant time capsule, preserving a record of the impact history of Earth and Moon since their formation," explained lead author Jessica Barnes, a researcher at The Open University in southern England.

On our on planet, that record has been largely erased by tectonic plates moving continents like pieces on a board game.

- Giant ball of magma -

Even if scientists today are sure there is water trapped on the Moon, they do not know how much, said co-author Roman Tartese, a researcher at the Minerology Institute of France's National Museum for Natural History.

"If we extrapolate from the Apollo samples, the lunar interior could contain on the order of 1,000 trillion tonnes," he told AFP.

If there is that much, it will likely be locked inside minerals in the form of hydroxyl (OH) molecules, he added.

On the surface, up to a billion tonnes of frozen water -- enough to fill a million Olympic pools -- is probably lodged inside deep craters around the north and south lunar poles, where the Sun's rays never penetrate.

Recent research concluded that it "has been trapped there for three or four billion years," Tartese said by email.

Water on the Moon could have very practical implications.

If future scientific missions can extract oxygen from these molecules, astronauts could live -- and breath -- inside bases on the lunar surface.

And the hydrogen, once separated from the oxygen, could be used as fuel for rockets or space-based mining operations.

"This may seem like science fiction," Tartese said.

"But it is one of the reasons several space agencies -- including the European Space Agency and NASA -- are currently developing robotic missions to explore new regions to better estimate the quantity of ice."

It is also possible, the researchers said, that some of the water on the lunar surface may have been ejected by volcanic eruptions, bubbling up from what was once a molten interior.

The Moon, in fact, probably began as "an enormous ball of magma" progressively cooled and hardened, said Tartese.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
MOON DAILY
Russian Firm Develops Project of Reusable Spacecraft for Lunar Missions
Moscow (Sputnik) May 30, 2016
Russia's state company Energia has developed a project of reusable manned Ryvok spacecraft for delivery of cargo and cosmonauts to the Moon, the company's representative Yuri Makushenko said Wednesday. Energia was planning to start the construction of next-generation Federatsia (Federation) spacecraft this year. The spacecraft is considered capable to perform missions in the Moon. "C ... read more


MOON DAILY
United Launch Alliance gets $138 million Atlas V contract

EchoStar XVIII and BRIsat are installed on Arianespace's Ariane 5

SpaceX makes fourth successful rocket landing

Arianespace to supply payload dispenser systems for OneWeb constellation

MOON DAILY
Red and Golden Planets at Opposition

Mars makes closest approach to Earth in 11 years

SwRI scientists discover evidence of ice age at Martian north pole

Opportunity investigating soil exposed by rover wheel

MOON DAILY
A new, water-logged history of the Moon

Russian Firm Develops Project of Reusable Spacecraft for Lunar Missions

SwRI scientists discover fresh lunar craters

NASA research gives new insights into how the Moon got inked

MOON DAILY
Study suggests Planet 9 is stolen exoplanet

Theft behind Planet 9 in our solar system

New Horizons' Best Close-Up of Pluto's Surface

Close encounters of a tidal kind could lead to cracks on icy moons

MOON DAILY
Astronomers find giant planet around very young star

Planet 1,200 Light-Years Away Is Good Prospect for a Habitable World

Kepler-223 System Offers Clues to Planetary Migration

Star Has Four Mini-Neptunes Orbiting in Lock Step

MOON DAILY
Understanding today's rocket engine market

Russia to Create New Powerful Plasma Rocket Engine

Roscosmos Proposes International Team to Create Super-Heavy Carrier Rocket

Australian, U.S. HIFiRE rocket achieves Mach 7.5

MOON DAILY
Chine's satellite industry eyes global satellite market

Bolivia takes over operations of Chinese-built satellite

NASA Chief: Congress Should Revise US-China Space Cooperation Law

China launches new satellite for civilian hi-res mapping

MOON DAILY
Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko contains ingredients for life

NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission will have a map for that

NASA Begins Launch Preparations for the First U.S. Asteroid Sampling Mission

The Book on the Birthplace of Planetary Science




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement