almost two years ago China He sent the in the end Chang’e 5 to what is known as “the ocean of storms”, a large dark spot on the Luna where those responsible for the Chinese space program consider that the youngest lands of the satellite are located.
At that moment, the ship landed on the lunar surface and with the help of a robotic arm, he took several samples and sent them to the orbital module that flew over the satellite, sending them from there to Earth. Currently, it is believed that the analysis of these samples revealed the answer to one of the great space mysteries: where does the moon water come from.
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As various studies have indicated, the Luna It was formed after a planet crashed into Earth about 4 billion years ago, as the impact caused a piece of the Earth’s surface to be separated and covered in molten rock, resulting in extremely high temperatures that they would have evaporated all the existing water.
However, missions carried out in recent years confirmed that there is still water on the moonin the case of tons in the form of ice which are located, to a large extent, in the perpetual shadow areas of the satellite’s poles, places where the sun never reaches.
In addition, other special probes have stated that these water reservoirs are also present in the illuminated areas of the Moon, although until now it had not been possible to explain where that frozen water had come from.
In this sense, the report published by scientists from the Chinese National Academy of Sciences (CAS), in collaboration with European researchers, ensures that the samples obtained by the Chinese probe Chang’e 5 they are the key to finding out where the water found on the satellite’s surface comes from.
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As detailed in the article published by the magazine Nature Geosciencethe samples contain impact glassesthat is, small colored grains that could have formed due to high temperatures derived from the meteorite collision and that contain small amounts of water inside.
“On the Moon, meteorite impacts are very frequent and occur throughout the entire satellite, with which the glasses are distributed throughout its geographyfrom the equator to the polar regions,” explained Sen Hua researcher at the ANC’s planetary physics laboratory, who indicated that the water content in the crystals is about 2,000 grams per ton.
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Following the new discoveries, researchers have estimated that there could be some 270,000 million tons of “water in crystals”a huge size compared to other estimates made in the past.
In this case, the samples taken by the Chinese probe are about 1 billion years younger than those collected on other occasions and show that crystals have been forming for the last 2 billion years.
A video captures the moment in which a meteorite crashes with the surface of the Moon
In this regard, with a view to future manned missions, the experts pointed out that “this can be an alternative source of water” in the Luna. To be used, they explained, the crystals must first be extracted from the lunar soil, heated in an oven at 100°C and the resulting vapor captured.
To verify this theory, Europe plans to send a mission to the Moon in 2026 to carry out a experiment in this regard, in which they will drill the lunar surface, collect samples and subject them to high temperatures to study the volatile compounds present, including water vapor.
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