The moon is losing 200 tons of water a year to meteorite

first_img Email The moon is losing 200 tons of water a year to meteorite strikes Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country When meteorites slam into the moon, they undoubtedly kick up a little dust. Now, a new study suggests they also shake loose quite a bit of water—something on the order of 200 tons each year.Planetary scientists were tipped to the leaching after reviewing sensor data from a moon-orbiting probe. Between November 2013 and April 2014, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer recorded occasional spikes in the numbers of particles, including water molecules, that were lofted off the moon. Of the 39 spikes, 29 occurred within 48 hours of the moon and Earth passing through annual meteor showers that are broad enough to hit both bodies. In general, the stronger the meteor stream, the more particles were tossed into space from the moon, the researchers report today in Nature Geoscience.The amounts of water detected by the sensors were far too high to have come from the meteorites themselves or from vaporized soil, the researchers suggest. Instead, they propose that most of that water was probably shaken loose from lunar soil grains near the meteorites’ impact sites. Over the course of a year, meteorites probably set free about 300 metric tons of water from the moon’s soil. Whereas about one-third of that water ends up elsewhere on the moon, including permanently shadowed areas near the lunar poles, the remainder—about 200 tons—is permanently lost to space. By Sid PerkinsApr. 15, 2019 , 11:15 AM NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe The team’s findings suggest lunar soil between a desiccated surface layer 8 centimeters thick to a depth of 3 meters contains between 200 and 500 parts per million of water—and that the water may be more readily extracted from the soil than previously presumed.last_img

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