Traces of local water found in the lunar soil

(ORDO NEWS) — The Chinese lunar lander has detected traces of the presence of local water on the Earth‘s satellite. Now, a team of scientists has determined where this “important liquid in the universe” came from on the Moon.

For the first time, scientists learned that traces of water were found on a natural satellite of the Earth back in 2020: then the Chang’e-5 landing module, using an onboard spectrometer, detected water-containing rocks in the lunar soil.

Laboratory analysis of soil samples delivered to our planet a year later confirmed the initial conclusions. Now a team of researchers has finally determined where the water on the moon came from.

Naturally, “lunar water” was not found in the form of a liquid, or at least ice crystals: there are no open reservoirs, and although the place where Chang’e-5 conducted research is called the Ocean of Storms , it has nothing to do with the earth’s oceans.

In fact, Chang’e-5 found only hydroxyl-containing rocks formed as a result of interaction with water. Nevertheless, the hydroxyl group in lunar rocks is what smoke is to fire in lunar water: it is proof of existence.

Multi-stage laboratory analyzes have shown that the hydroxyl groups in lunar rocks come from two different sources.

A small part of them was formed under the influence of the solar wind on the surface of the satellite (similar results were obtained when studying soil samples delivered to Earth by Apollo 11 ).

Most of the hydroxyl groups were presented in the form of apatites – quite common rocks both on the Moon and on Earth.

Traces of local water found in the lunar soil
Crystals of apatite, a mineral containing phosphorus, which is also part of our bones and teeth

Such a number of hydroxyl groups could no longer be formed only under the influence of the solar wind, scientists note: water should have been on the moon from the very beginning and played a role in the process of its formation.

In addition, the presence of water there may be important for the potential colonization of the satellite and the construction of the first human settlements on its surface.

Chinese scientists plan to continue studying the moon with the next landing modules – Chang’e-6 and Chang’e-7: their main task is to assess and distribute the water resources of our satellite, including polar ice.


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