A recent research proposes a unique explanation for the permafrost-locked water discovered on the lunar surface: what if it was grabbed from Earth’s upper atmosphere? Three thousand cubic kilometers of water have gone from the Earth to the moon.
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Since the moon and Earth formed at around the same time and from almost the same elements, astronomers have turned to our only natural satellite for answers about the Earth’s earliest times, which have been wiped by its active geology.
The Earth’s magnetosphere, which protects the planet from the Sun’s hazardous rays, is not spherical but cone-shaped, courtesy of the solar wind, and the moon passes through the outermost tip of that cone for around five days each month around the time of the full moon.
The article, which was published (read below) in March in Scientific Reports, claims that as the moon travels through that cone, it sweeps up hydrogen and oxygen ions, which are stuck in the magnetic bands. The moon’s magnetosphere would interact with Earth’s as it passes through, potentially blocking the rogue ions, however it doesn’t.
According to their calculations, 3,000 cubic kilometers of water have gone from the Earth to the moon by this way, which is somewhat more than the volume of Africa’s Lake Victoria.
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Of course, some water has made its way to the moon in the same way that it did on Earth: through strikes with huge asteroids and comets.
When the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 probe retrieved samples from the Sea of Crisis regolith in 1976, it was the first time that lunar water was identified. A two-meter columnar sample demonstrated that the volume of water increased with depth. Western scientists, on the other hand, have mostly disregarded this discovery, with NASA claiming to have discovered the finding in 2020 using an infrared telescope installed inside a Boeing 747 plane.
Any prolonged human expedition on the lunar surface will require a mechanism to extract and conserve lunar water. Numerous space agencies have proposed building lunar facilities in the upcoming years, with plans to investigate lunar water in greater depth.
Read the study below: