Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Space Travel News .




MOON DAILY
Solar wind particles likely source of water locked inside lunar soils
by Staff Writers
Ann Arbor MI (SPX) Oct 15, 2012


illustration only

The most likely source of the water locked inside soils on the moon's surface is the constant stream of charged particles from the sun known as the solar wind, a University of Michigan researcher and his colleagues have concluded.

Over the last five years, spacecraft observations and new lab measurements of Apollo lunar samples have overturned the long-held belief that the moon is bone-dry.

In 2009, NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing satellite, known as LCROSS, slammed into a permanently shadowed lunar crater and ejected a plume of material that was surprisingly rich in water ice. Water and related compounds have also been detected in the lunar regolith, the layer of fine powder and rock fragments that coats the lunar surface.

But the origin of lunar surface water has remained unclear. Is it mainly the result of impacts from water-bearing comets and other chunks of space debris, or could there be other sources? Theoretical models of lunar water stability dating to the late 1970s suggest that hydrogen ions (protons) from the solar wind can combine with oxygen on the moon's surface to form water and related compounds called hydroxyls, which consist of one atom of hydrogen and one of oxygen and are known as OH.

In an article published online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience, U-M's Youxue Zhang and colleagues from the University of Tennessee and the California Institute of Technology present findings that support solar-wind production of water ice on the moon.

The first author of the paper is Yang Liu of U-T. She is a U-M alumna who earned her doctorate under Zhang, who is a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

In the paper, the researchers present infrared spectroscopy and mass spectrometry analyses of Apollo samples that reveal the presence of significant amounts of hydroxyl inside glasses formed in the lunar regolith by micrometeorite impacts.

When combined, the techniques of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and secondary ion mass spectrometry can be used to determine the chemical form of the hydrogen in a substance, as well as its abundance and its isotopic composition. Most of the infrared spectroscopy work was done at Zhang's U-M lab, and the mass spectroscopy was conducted at Caltech.

"We found that the 'water' component, the hydroxyl, in the lunar regolith is mostly from solar wind implantation of protons, which locally combined with oxygen to form hydroxyls that moved into the interior of glasses by impact melting," said Zhang, the James R. O'Neil Collegiate Professor of Geological Sciences.

"Lunar regolith is everywhere on the lunar surface, and glasses make up about half of lunar regolith. So our work shows that the 'water' component, the hydroxyl, is widespread in lunar materials, although not in the form of ice or liquid water that can easily be used in a future manned lunar base."

The findings imply that ice inside permanently shadowed polar craters on the moon, sometimes called cold traps, could contain hydrogen atoms ultimately derived from the solar wind, the researchers report.

"This also means that water likely exists on Mercury and on asteroids such as Vesta or Eros further within our solar system," Liu said. "These planetary bodies have very different environments, but all have the potential to produce water."

The regolith glasses are called agglutinates, and the study reported in Nature Geoscience is the first to identify agglutinates as a new reservoir of OH on the moon-an "unanticipated, abundant reservoir" of OH and water in the lunar regolith, according to the authors.

The researchers analyzed individual grains from Apollo 11 mare soil, Apollo 16 highland soil and Apollo 17 mare soil. The grains included agglutinates and impact glasses.

In addition to Liu and Zhang, authors of the Nature Geoscience report are Yunbin Guan, George Rossman and John Eiler of Caltech and Lawrence Taylor of U-T. The work was funded in part by NASA cosmochemistry grants to Taylor and Zhang, by support from the Moore Foundation to the Caltech Microanalysis Center, and by a National Science Foundation grant to Rossman. A portion of the study was also supported by U-T's the Planetary Geosciences Institute.

.


Related Links
University of Michigan
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




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





MOON DAILY
Moon water could have solar source: study
Paris (AFP) Oct 14, 2012
Scientists on Sunday said they had found water molecules in samples of lunar soil, and their unusual signature points to the Sun as the indirect source. Samples returned to Earth by the Apollo missions carry molecules of water and a precursor of water called hydroxyl, according to their study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Researchers led by Yang Liu at the University of Te ... read more


MOON DAILY
Proton Lofts Intelsat 23 For Americas, Europe and Africa Markets

India to launch 58 space missions in next 5 years

SpaceX Dragon Successfully Attaches To Space Station

Another Ariane 5 Enters Launch Campaign Queue

MOON DAILY
Robotic Arm Tools Get To Work On Rock Outcrop

Curiosity Preparing for Second Scoop

Mars rover makes surprising rock find

Meteorite delivers Martian secrets to University of Alberta researcher

MOON DAILY
Russia to launch lunar mission in 2015

Moon water could have solar source: study

Solar wind particles likely source of water locked inside lunar soils

Russian moon mission said funded, ready

MOON DAILY
Sharpest-ever Ground-based Images of Pluto and Charon: Proves a Powerful Tool for Exoplanet Discoveries

The Kuiper Belt at 20: Paradigm Changes in Our Knowledge of the Solar System

e2v To Supply Large CMOS Imaging Sensors For Imaging Kuiper Belt Objects

Fly New Horizons through the Kuiper Belt

MOON DAILY
Nearby Super-Earth Likely a Diamond Planet

Candels Team Discovers Dusty Galaxies At Ancient Epoch With Hubble Space Telescope

Large water reservoirs at the dawn of stellar birth

Comet crystals found in a nearby planetary system

MOON DAILY
India testfires Mars mission engine

ATK Awarded $50 Million Contract for NASA's Advanced Concept Booster Development for SLS

Rotors seen as method of spacecraft return

ATK and NASA Showcase Cost-Saving Upgrades for Space Launch System Solid Rocket Boosters

MOON DAILY
China launches civilian technology satellites

ChangE-2 Mission To Lagrange L2 Point

Meeting of heads of ESA and China Manned Space Agency

China Spacesat gets 18-million-USD gov't support

MOON DAILY
Lost asteroid rediscovered with a little help from ESA

First Evidence of Dynamo Generation in an Asteroid

Asteroid fragments could hint at the origin of the solar system

A New Dawn For NASA's Asteroid Explorer




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal 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. 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