Solar System, The Moon

Scientists May Have Found Significant Amounts Of Water On The Moon

New studies published in Nature Geoscience indicate that scientists may have just found large stores of water hidden within the moon.

Researches from Brown University in Rhode Island are investigating what appears to be water trapped in volcanic glass, near the moon’s surface. This water does not come in the form of water trapped in the poles (like most planets) but rather as water hidden within volcanic glass from it’s initial formation.

Enhanced water content associated with lunar pyroclastic deposits and the large areal extent, widespread distribution and variable chemistry of these deposits on the lunar surface are consistent with significant water in the bulk lunar mantle. We therefore suggest that water-bearing volcanic glasses from Apollo landing sites are not anomalous, and volatile loss during pyroclastic eruptions may represent a significant pathway for the transport of water to the lunar surface.

This isn’t a new theory; in 2008 studies show the presence of water in volcanic glass bead samples from the Apollo 15 and 17 missions in 1971 and 1972.

Scientists May Have Found Significant Amounts Of Water On The Moon
Pyroclastic deposits seen on the moon. (Milliken lab/Brown University)

Where the water was initially formed remains a mystery. Was it brought to the planet by comet or asteroid, or was it already present within the planet due to it’s formation?

Theoretically, this water can be extracted from volcanic glass beads much easier than it would be to extract water from the lunar poles. Heating the beads to high temperatures would allow for the water to flow freely from the glass.

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Jamie is an amateur astronomer and every day space geek.