Chinese scientists have discovered a new water reservoir on the Moon. According to experts, the glass balls on its surface contain billions of tons of water. Thus, they can serve as a water source for astronauts on future lunar missions.
According to Chinese scientists, the moon contains water in glass spheres formed by the impact of asteroids.
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Experts rejoice. They discovered a potential source of water on the surface months. The life-giving liquid is said to be hidden in glass spheres scattered around the Moon, formed by the melting of material ejected during impacts. asteroids.
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Scientists led by Sen Hu, a professor at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have discovered that there is more water on the moon than previously thought as a result of the analysis of soil samples on the moon. These were collected by China’s Chang’e-5 (CE5) mission and brought back to Earth in 2020. The experts selected 150 grains, ranging in size from 50 micrometers to one millimeter, for the study.
Glass balls are formed when asteroids collide
Scientists from several universities worked on the research, including China’s Nanjing University and China University of Science and Technology, the UK’s Open University and the University of Manchester. Daily Independent reports that they have published their results in a journal Natural Geology.
The water was stored in spheres made of impact glass that formed when struck Moon hitting asteroids and sending showers of droplets of molten material. They are then hardened and mixed with moon dust.
Water is formed when high-energy particles streaming from the Sun, known as the solar wind, collide with molten droplets. Solar wind that is, it contains hydrogen nuclei that combine with oxygen in droplets to form water. Water will be locked in them, but can be released after heating the material.
300 billion tons of water
Balls from all sides the surface of the moon According to experts, it should contain 300-270 billion tons of water. “It will open up new avenues that many of us have thought about. If you can extract water and concentrate it in significant amounts, it’s up to you how you use it,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. Guardian Mahesh Anand Professor of Planetary Sciences and Exploration at the Open University.
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The distribution of water among the balls suggests that water can be stored in them for several years and then quickly released. According to experts, this process may represent an effective water filling mechanism, indicating an active water circulation on the surface of the Moon. “Impact glasses on the surface of the Moon and other objects in the Solar System can store water obtained by the solar wind and then release it into space,” the professor said.
The presence of water on the moon has already been confirmed by many lunar missions, but until now it was not clear how the storage, release and replenishment of life-giving fluid occurred on the lunar surface. Thus, the study fills some gaps in the theory of the monthly water cycle.
Drinking water or rocket fuel
The researchers hope that the water in the glass beads could be an easily accessible source of water for future missions. Astronauts could turn it into, for example, drinking water or rocket fuel. Unlike frozen water found in permanently shadowed craters, glass balls should be easier for humans and robots to handle.
This also means that the astronauts will not only have a source of water, but also hydrogen and oxygen. “This is one of the most interesting discoveries we have made. With this finding, the potential for lunar exploration is continuously higher than ever before,” said Anad.
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Usually water months occurs mostly in the form of ice. In permanently shadowed areas where sunlight does not reach, ice mixes with lunar soil. It is buried deep on the surface or can be found in the form of an ice sheet in these places. The greatest amount of ice is found in the darkest and coldest places at the lunar poles, in the shadow of craters. But you won’t find puddles of liquid there.
In 2020, NASA confirmed that there is even water on the illuminated side of the Moon. Due to the higher temperatures where the sunlight shines, there is very little water, but it is still there. Near the equator, the temperature approaches 120 degrees Celsius, and the night temperature reaches -130 degrees.