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Moon water discovery: Earth-moon formation possible link based on trace of H2O

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The exciting new find of moon water was presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston recently. The traces of water were found in ancient moon rocks and this find offers the possibility that moon and Earth share a common source of water, according to Fox News on April 2.

Thanks to the six Apollo moon landing missions and the three robotic missions to the moon by Russia, the scientists have a treasure trove of rocks and soil to examine for their research of lunar water. The 842 pounds worth of soil samples and lunar rocks have allowed scientists to embark on this research.

The rocks and soil were taken from different areas of the moon and this most recent research used the oldest lunar rocks, which were extracted from the lunar highlands. It is believed that these rocks were formed from the moon magma ocean.

Leading the research was Jessica Barnes, a PhD student in planetary and space sciences at the United Kingdom’s Open University. Her team concentrated on the traces of water found in the lunar highland rocks to explore the water’s possible sources.

This study can lead to a greater understanding of the Earth-moon system. The isotopic composition of the water in the lunar rocks allows the scientists to examine the history between the Earth and moon. The water that is present in the oldest rocks offers a window for the scientist to go as far back as to when the Earth and moon were formed.

The magmatic rocks offer the composition of the moon’s crust, mantle and atmosphere by examining the elements. It is suggested that water was on the moon by the hydrogen rich apatite found in the samples that the missions have carted back to Earth.

The apatite containing the hydrogen was found in a variety of lunar rocks, but it was not found in abundance. These older rock samples provide the material that is ideal for “understanding the original volatile composition of the moon soon after its formation,” according to Fox.

The apatite was extremely rare in previous lunar rock samples, but the lunar highland rocks gave the researchers the ideal composition for finding the traces of water in the rock samples.

The older rocks from the lunar highlands, which came back to Earth with the many moon missions, provide “pristine materials” for laboratory investigations. The age of the rocks possibly allow the scientists a window into the Earth-moon’s formation.



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