In particular, this may be the result of hydrogen ion bombardment from the solar surface. wind, crashing into the lunar surface, interacting with mineral oxides and binding with the displaced oxygen.
As a result, water can be hidden in the lunar regolith in significant amounts at middle and high latitudes.
This has implications for our understanding of the origin and distribution of water on the Moon, and may even matter. to our understanding of the origin of water on Earth.
The moon looks like a fairly dry ball of dust, but recent studies have shown that there is a lot more water there than anyone suspected.
Obviously, he does not swim in lakes and lagoons; it is associated with the lunar regolith, perhaps hidden as ice in permanently shadowed craters, and isolated in balls of volcanic glass.
This naturally leads to questions like how much water is there exactly? How is it distributed? And where the hell did it come from? The last question probably has several answers.
Some of them could be caused by asteroid impacts. Some are from Earth. One possible source, however, is hardly the first thing that comes to mind when imagining cosmic rain clouds.
To be fair, the Sun does not drip moisture, but its wind is certainly a reliable source. high speed hydrogen ions.
Evidence, including analysis of lunar dirt from the Apollo missions, has previously indicated a high probability that the solar wind is responsible for at least some of the Moon’s ingredients for water.
Now, a team of researchers led by geochemists Yuchen Xu and Heng-Qi Tian from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have discovered the chemical composition of grains recovered by the Chang’e-5 mission, further confirming the existence of a solar source of lunar water.
They studied 17 grains: 7 olivine, 1 pyroxene, 4 plagioclase and 5 glass. They were all, unlike the low-latitude samples collected by Apollo and the Moon, from the mid-latitude region of the Moon and taken from the youngest known lunar volcanic basalt, from the driest basalt basement.
Using Raman spectroscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, they studied the chemical composition of the rim of these grains – the outer, 100-nm shell of the grain, the most exposed to space weather and, therefore, the most altered compared to the grain. interior.
Most of these discs showed very high hydrogen concentrations of 1116 to 2516 ppm and very low deuterium/hydrogen isotope ratios.
These ratios are consistent with the ratios of these elements in the solar wind, suggesting that the solar wind crashed into the Moon, leaving hydrogen on the lunar surface.
The water content obtained from the solar wind present in They found that the landing site of “Chang’e-5” should be about 46 parts per million. This is consistent with remote sensing measurements.
To determine whether hydrogen could be stored in lunar minerals, the researchers conducted experiments by heating some of their grains. They found that once buried, the grains can indeed hold hydrogen.
Finally, the researchers performed simulations of hydrogen storage in the lunar soil at various temperatures.
This showed that temperature plays a significant role in the implantation, migration, and degassing of hydrogen on the Moon.
This means that a significant amount of water taken in by the solar wind can be stored at mid and high latitudes where temperatures are cooler.
A model based on these findings suggests that the Moon’s polar regions could be much richer. in water generated by the solar wind information that could be very useful in planning future lunar exploration missions.
“Polar lunar soils may contain more water than Chang’e-5 samples,” says space chemist Yanting Lin. Chinese Academy of Sciences.
“This discovery is of great importance for the future use of water resources on the Moon. In addition, due to particle sorting and heating, it is relatively easy to exploit and use the water contained in the lunar soil.”
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