High-energy electrons in Earth’s plasma may help form water on the moon’s surface, a study has found.
The findings were published in 2017 by a team led by a scientist at the University of Hawaii (UH) at Mānoa. natural astronomyusing data from the Indian lunar probe Chandrayaan-1, which was launched between October 2008 and August 2009.
Data suggest that Earth’s electrons may contribute to the moon’s weathering process, the study reported.
The Earth is surrounded by a force field called the magnetosphere, which protects it from damaging solar radiation. This force field is pushed outward and reshaped by the solar wind, a stream of charged particles. This creates a long tail on the night side of the Earth. The tail is made up of high-energy electrons and ions from the solar wind and planets.
The solar wind then travels to the moon’s surface and surrounds it. Scientists believe that electrons carried by winds were one of the first ways water formed on the moon.
“This provides a natural laboratory for studying the formation process of water on the lunar surface,” Shuai Li, lead author and research associate at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), said in a news release detailing the findings. expressed in the manuscript.
“When the Moon is outside the magnetotail, the lunar surface is bombarded by the solar wind. Inside the magnetotail, where there are almost no solar wind protons, water formation is expected to drop to near zero.”
Knowing how much water is on the moon’s surface helps astronomers measure the moon’s evolution and formation.
Water could also become a valuable resource for future missions, as it can sustain missions over the long term. It could make the moon habitable for humans at some point in the future.
This new discovery may help explain the origin of water ice previously discovered in the dark side region of the moon.
“To my surprise, remote sensing observations showed that water formed in Earth’s magnetotail at almost the same time as the Moon was outside Earth’s magnetotail,” Lee said in a press release.
“This suggests that, in the magnetotail, there may be additional formation processes or new sources of water that are not directly related to the implantation of solar wind protons. In particular, the radiation of high-energy electrons exhibits similar effects to those of solar wind protons. Taken together, this finding “And my previous discovery of rusty lunar poles shows that Mother Earth is deeply connected to the moon in many unrecognized ways.”
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