US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — A team of researchers associated with several institutions in Japan discovered evidence of carbon emissions on the moon. In a paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes the study of carbon data from the KAGUYA lunar orbiter and what they learned from this.
After the missions of the lunar manned exploration program of the moon of the 60s and 70s returned samples of lunar rocks, scientists began to formulate a theory explaining how the moon appeared. This theory has achieved its goal in recent years, when it became clear that the moon was formed from material that was thrown into space when a large planet collided with the Earth.
Part of the theory is based on data from lunar rocks, which indicate volatile carbon vaporizing from the moon due to heat from a massive impact. But now it turned out that ancient carbon is on the surface of the moon, and this suggests the need for some changes to the theory of the birth of the moon.
This work included the study of one and a half year data from the KAGUYA Lunar Orbiter, focusing on carbon emissions. They found that the moon emits more carbon than anticipated, and more than could be explained by the newly introduced portions of carbon, through the solar wind or a collision with micrometeorites.
They also found that some parts of the moon emit more carbon than others — for example, the basalt plains emit more carbon than the highlands. Researchers suggest that this is due to the fact that the surface material on the plain is newer than the material in the highlands, and therefore it had less time for evaporation.
Scientists find that there is a large amount of ancient carbon beneath the surface of the moon, and it has probably been there since the formation of the moon. How it could survive on a very hot early moon remains a mystery. Researchers also note that their approach can be applied to the study of other celestial bodies in the solar system and that they intend to use it to learn more about carbon emissions from the surface of Mercury and Phobos.
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