Meteor strikes the moon knock out 200 tons of water per year

Regular meteor strikes raised from the surface of the Moon water particles, which may indicate that the satellite of our planet, there are still some stocks of the precious resource below the surface, according to a new study based on data analysis of several recent space exploration missions using unmanned interplanetary probes . The conclusions of these studies were published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Meteor strikes the moon knock out 200 tons of water per year

After the mission "Apollo" space agency NASA brought lunar soil samples to Earth, scientists have been able to find in them evidence of water on the moon. However, in recent decades, the data collected by various spacecraft, including mission "Cassini" NASA, Deep Impact and Lunar Prospector, as well as the Indian "Chandrayaan-1" found traces of water on the lunar surface. Furthermore, it was found that the water stored in the entire surface of the satellite, and not only at its poles, as previously assumed.

However, scientists still have questions about the source of all this water, as well as its quantitative reserves on the Moon. A group of researchers led by Mehdi Benny from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center decided to answer these questions by analyzing the information gathered by the lunar orbiter LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer). This unit during the eight-month mission investigated the composition of the lunar exosphere using NMS spectrometer and was able to collect data on the number of key volatiles, including methane, helium, neon, argon and others. Furthermore, during the mission sensor 743 measuring the amount of produced water molecules. The median value is 22 8 molecules per cubic centimeter, but researchers found 214 cases of sudden excess water concentrations above "background" - more than 10 times. Moreover, these bursts come mostly from mid-November 2013 to mid-January 2014, which accounts for the period of maximum activity of 29 meteor showers, including such well-known, Leonids and Geminids Quadrantids.

"The bulk of the geological processes that we encounter in the study of planets and satellites take place very slowly. We've never seen that dynamic changes taking place so quickly, just the scale of some hours, "- says Mehdi Benna.

The researchers found that both the Moon and Earth in this period of time bombarding the stream of meteoroids, including quite large bodies of tens of meters. Benn and colleagues have found that in most cases a sharp increase in the water concentration to coincide with maximum activity meteoric flows. Calculations show that the bulk of the water rises in the exosphere when striking the moon meteoroid weight from a few grams to tens of kilograms, which can penetrate deep enough into the interior of the lunar soil. Analyzing the data streams on the dimensions and volumes of those that were detected in the satellite atmosphere, scientists have concluded that at a depth of less than 8 centimeters in lunar soil water concentration by weight may be 220-520 ppm. It is estimated the study authors, from the lunar soil for a year in interplanetary space due to meteorite impacts gets about 200 tons of lunar water. If the calculations are carried away in the water space are true, then it turns out that the water was to be on the moon for about 4, 5 billion years ago. Perhaps it was put there as a result of bombardment by meteorites and asteroids, which had in its bosom its high concentration.

As for the samples of lunar soil collected during the mission "Apollo", the lack of water in these samples can be explained by the fact that this element is collected directly inside the stone was not because they were collected from the surface, rather than the deeper layers. There is a possibility that some certain percentage of water particles could be on top of the stones, but astronauts manipulating samples in their collection and transportation of the Earth is likely to have led to the fact that she was unable to resist them, Benn suggests.

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