Meteor blows out of the moon 200 tons of water annually

Regular meteor blows up the moon’s surface, the particles of water, which may indicate that the satellite of our planet, there are still some supplies of the precious resource beneath the surface, according to a new study based on data analysis of several the latest space research missions with the help of automatic interplanetary stations. The conclusions of these studies were published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

After the mission “Apollo” space Agency NASA brought back samples of lunar soil to Earth, scientists have been unable to find evidence of water on the moon. However, in recent decades, the data collected by different spacecraft, including mission Cassini NASA, Deep Impact and Lunar Prospector, as well as the Indian “Chandrayaan-1” found traces of water on the lunar surface. In addition, it was found that the water is on the entire surface of the satellite, and not only at its poles, as previously assumed.

However, scientists still have questions about the source of all this water, as well as its quantitative reserves on the moon. A group of researchers under the leadership of Mehdi Benny from the space center of NASA’s Goddard decided to answer these questions by analyzing the information collected from the orbital lunar probe LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer). This unit’s eight-month mission investigated the composition of the lunar ecosphere using the NMS spectrometer and were able to collect data on the number of key volatiles, including methane, helium, neon, argon and others. In addition, during the mission the probe was produced 743 measuring the amount of water molecules.

The median value was 22.8 molecules per cubic centimeter, but scientists have found 214 cases of a sharp concentration of water above the “background” — more than 10 times. And these spikes were mostly from mid-Nov 2013 to mid Jan 2014, which accounts for a maximum period of 29 meteor showers, including the famous Leonids, Geminids and Quadrantids.

“The bulk of the geological processes that we encounter in the study of planets and satellites occur very slowly. We’ve never seen that dynamic changes occurred so quickly, literally in the scales of some hours”, says Mehdi Benn.

The researchers found that the moon and Earth at this time bombarding the stream of meteoroids, including enough large bodies tens of meters. Benn and his colleagues found that in most cases a sharp increase in water concentration coincided with the maximum activity of the meteor showers. Calculations show that the bulk of the water rises in the exosphere of the moon with the impact of meteoroids, weighing from a few grams to tens of kilograms, which were deep enough to penetrate the thickness of the lunar soil. After analyzing data on the sizes of threads, as well as those volumes that have been detected in the atmosphere of the satellite, the scientists came to the conclusion that at depths below 8 cm in the lunar soil the concentration of water by weight can be 220-520 ppm.

According to the authors, from lunar soil, per year in interplanetary space due to meteorite strikes gets about 200 tons of lunar water. If the calculation is carried out of the water in space is correct, it turns out that the water was supposed to be on the moon about 4.5 billion years ago. Perhaps it was put there as a result of bombardment by meteorites and asteroids, which had in its bosom its high concentration.

As for the samples of lunar soil collected during the mission “Apollo”, the lack of water in these samples can be explained by the fact that this element directly inside of the collected stones was not because they were collected from the surface and not the deeper layers. There is a possibility that a certain fraction of particles of water could be on top of the stones, but the manipulation of the astronauts with the samples during their collection and transport to the Ground is likely to have led to the fact that she was unable to resist, suggests Benn.

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