A team of scientists discovered Water Small hidden inside Glass beads extracted from the surface the moon During the Chinese occupation of Chang’e 5. in a Article Published at the end of March in the journal Science Natural Earth SciencesExperts describe how these glass beads from the moon in late 2020 could be the width of a hair, between 50 micrometers and 1 millimeter.
The water content makes up only a small fraction of the pearl’s volume, scientists explain, and they say 330,000 million tons of water The entire surface of the moon is covered in glass beads.
Soil samples brought back by the Apollo missions were originally thought to contain no water on the Moon. However, it has been known for decades now.
Water ice at the poles was discovered using a neutron spectrometer on the Prospector lunar mission in the 1990s. Water ice was later discovered in many craters on the moon’s surface.
In 2018, NASA’s Mineralogy Mapper of the Moon, produced by the Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan-1, provided researchers with the first high-resolution map of the minerals that make up the Moon’s surface. There was water on the poles.
“Today, there is no doubt that most of the lunar surface is entrapped with water in one form or another,” the authors wrote in the paper. Natural Earth Sciences.
There is no water on the moon
These glass beads contain water that does not exist on the Moon. Instead, pearls and the water they contain are formed as a result of meteorite impacts at tremendous speeds.
During the collision, pearls form when silicate minerals are heated by the meteorite impact, melting and forming molten globules.
Inside these molten glass beads of lunar rock, oxygen from the rocks reacts with hydrogen ions in the plasma of the solar wind, which bathes the moon forever. This phenomenon produces H2O or water, which is absorbed by the beads. These pearls are scattered across the surface of the moon, and have been buried under dust for millions of years.
The authors of the paper wrote: “A recent geological survey of CE5 impact glass beads [Chang’e 5] It showed that they have evolved more or less continuously over the past 2 billion years, with major peaks in earlier evolutionary ages. [alrededor de] 575, 380, 68 and 35 million years”.
Previously, water on the Moon’s surface was observed to come and go in a daily cycle, disappearing into space. So the researchers concluded that there must be a hydration layer in the lunar soil to somehow replenish this lost water, but it has not been discovered until now.
How are pearls formed?
The study found that water in the solar wind can take between one and 15 years to form glass beads at temperatures of 360 Kelvin (86.85 °C), and those beads are capable of releasing water into the atmosphere. . This, the authors say, means beads are important in maintaining the lunar surface water cycle.
Scientists believe that this water could one day become a source for lunar travel, as they believe it would be very easy to extract water from the abundant beads.
“If we want to extract the water in the impact glass beads for future lunar exploration, we first collect them, then boil them in a furnace and cool the released vapor. Finally, you get some liquid water in a bottle,” said a planetary geologist at the Institute of Geography and Geophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and co-author of the paper. author Chen Hu told Live Science.
“Another advantage is the impact glass beads [comunes] “On the lunar soil, from the equator to the poles and from east to west on a global and uniform scale,” Chen said.
It will be invaluable for future human missions to the moon and for lunar bases planned for construction in the future. China’s National Space Administration plans to complete a base on the moon by 2029, and has NASA in hot pursuit.
On the Moon and other planets
However, Ian Crawford, Birkbeck Professor of Planetary Science and Astrophysics, University of London, told the newspaper Guardian The amount of water on the moon is not very high by Earth standards. Each cubic meter of lunar soil contains a maximum of 130 milliliters of water.
The published study suggests that glassy beads with water trapped inside may be common on other windless planets, where the solar wind reacts with rocks thrown up during meteorite collisions.
“Our direct measurements of this lunar surface water reservoir show that impact glass beads can store significant amounts of water derived from the solar wind on the Moon. They suggest that impact glass may be a reservoir for water on other airless bodies,” they wrote.
They continued: “The presence of water stored in impact glass beads is consistent with the remote sensing of water in low-latitude regions of the Moon, Vesta, and Mercury. Our findings indicate that impact glasses on the surface of airless bodies in the Solar System are capable of storing water derived from the solar wind and releasing it into space.
Therefore, these glass beads could provide a source of water for future missions to these other astronomical systems. No.
(Published in association with Newsweek.Published in association with Newsweek).