Science

Has Earth's Oxygen Rusted The Moon For Billions Of Years?

Has Earth's Oxygen Rusted The Moon For Billions Of Years?”

To make this discovery, researchers including co-authors from Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and elsewhere analysed data acquired by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) designed by Nasa JPL onboard India's Chandrayaan-1 mission. Rust results when oxygen removes electrons from iron; Hydrogen does the opposite by adding electrons, which means it is very hard to form rust on a hydrogen-rich moon.

So why does rust now exist on the moon?

Moon is a space body that usually gets bombarded with solar winds, which is basically a reducing agent that "donates" its electrons to the materials it interacts with. With the moon inching farther from the Earth, it's possible that the oxygen was delivered when the two were much closer together in the past. This happens only when there is an interaction with iron water and oxygen.

"It's very puzzling", Li said. "The Moon is a awful environment for haematite to form in". Li said that the guess complies with the data recorded by M3 which found larger presence of Hematite on the surface of Moon which is facing the Earth. The moon enters this tail three days before its fullest, and it takes six days to cross the tail and exit the other side. But the Moon isn't supposed to have oxygen or liquid water, so how can it be rusting? But the marks of this mineral on the moon surface are shocking. Besides ferrying oxygen to the Moon from our home planet, it also blocks over 99% of the solar wind during certain periods of the Moon's orbit (specifically, whenever it's in the full Moon phase).

When scientists at NASA and the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology evaluated the information just recently, they were shocked to discover tips of hematite, a kind of iron oxide referred to asrust There are a lot of iron-rich rocks on the moon- however rust is just produced when iron is exposed to oxygen and water. Dust particles on the moon's surface might float off the ground, and moon dust might fly into a dust storm, according to NASA.

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"This discovery will reshape our knowledge about the Moon's polar regions", he added. It's also still unclear how exactly water on the moon is interacting with rock. This time Li found that the spectra of the poles of the Moon had a very different kind of composition than the rest of its surface.

This theory can also explain why rust has been found on other airless bodies, such as asteroids. The scientists opined that the traces of oxygen from Earth moving towards the Lunar surface could have helped in rust formation since the Moon does not have any atmosphere.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)'s researchers believe that the Earth may have had a role to play in this rusting process.

To gather more data for these unsolved mysteries, NASA is developing a new version of the tool that collected all this existing data on the lunar mineralization. One of these features, NASA's statement said, would be able to map water ice over the moon's craters - and it might be able to reveal new details about hematite as well.



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