But to be more precise, such “solar water” was formed as a result of the interaction of the solar wind with the surface of the Moon, namely hydrogen ions, which interacted with mineral oxides on the Moon, which then combined the hydrogen with the displaced oxygen.
As a result, water was formed, which is contained in significant amounts in the lunar regolith at middle and high latitudes.
This discovery will help scientists understand the distribution of water on the Moon and even reveal the origin of water on Earth.
Where does the water on the moon come from?
The moon looks like a rather dry ball of dust. But recent research has found that there is much more water there than previously thought.
Obviously, it does not swim in lakes and lagoons, but is bound in the lunar regolith. It is likely that water in the form of ice is hidden in permanently shaded craters and sequestered in balls of volcanic glass.
This naturally leads to questions like how much water is there exactly? How is it distributed and where did it come from? The last question probably has multiple answers.
Part of the water could have been brought in as a result of a collision with an asteroid, and another part could have got to the Moon from the Earth. But this source is hardly the first.
Of course, there is no water on the Sun to bring it to the planets or satellites. But our star is a reliable source of high-speed hydrogen ions, which can be involved in the formation of water.
Previously, this hypothesis was partially confirmed by the Apollo missions: scientists found that the solar wind is responsible for at least some of the ingredients for water on the Moon.
Sun and water
Now, a team of researchers led by geochemists Yucheng Xu and Heng-Qi Tian from the Chinese Academy of Sciences has found chemicals in grains recovered by the Chanye-5 mission, further proving the moon’s water source is solar.
Most of these samples showed very high hydrogen concentrations of 1116 to 2516 ppm and very low deuterium/hydrogen isotope ratios.
These ratios are consistent with the number of parts found in the solar wind. This is evidence that the solar wind has crashed into the moon, depositing hydrogen on the lunar surface.
To determine if hydrogen could be stored in monthly minerals, the researchers conducted dust heating experiments. They found that regolith dust particles could indeed contain hydrogen.
Finally, the researchers ran simulations of hydrogen storage in lunar soil at different temperatures.
This showed that temperature plays a significant role in implantation, migration, and hydrogen release 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 may be rich in solar wind-generated water – information that could be very useful when planning future lunar exploration missions.
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