Some Parts Of The Moon Are Wetter Than Others

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands on the lunar surface. Man’s first landing on the Moon was on July 20, 1969. Photo by NASA/Newsmakers

Rocks from the Moon are still revealing secrets more than 40 years after astronauts collected them.

New US research shows water molecules detected in lunar rocks originate from various areas of the Moon’s interior and some areas are wetter than others.

The Moon was thought to be dry until six years ago when water was detected in lunar samples.

This new research reported in the journal Nature Geoscience suggests the distribution and chemical composition of water varies in the lunar interior, a clue to understanding how the Moon formed and evolved.

Katharine Robinson and G. Jeffrey Taylor at the University of Hawaii compiled measurements of water molecules trapped within various lunar samples returned by the Apollo missions.

They found that the concentration of the water molecules and their chemistry varies between rock types.

For example, the water concentration in volcanic glasses is consistent with an origin from magmas which were as wet as parts of the Earth’s mantle, whereas other basaltic rocks are thought to derive from much drier mantle sources.

Optical micrograph of pyroclastic glass beads in Apollo sample 74220, 383, the famous orange soil. Water was first detected in 2008 in
glass beads similar to these. Image: G.J. Taylor

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