Scientists had an equivalent reaction you almost certainly did once they reached this conclusion.
It should not be possible — in any case,
there is no oxygen on the moon, one among the 2 essential elements to make rust, the opposite being water.
But the evidence was there.
India’s lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, orbited the moon in 2008, gathering data that has led to numerous discoveries
over the years — including the revelation that there are water molecules on its surface. The probe also carried an instrument built by NASA that would analyze the moon’s mineral composition.
When researchers at NASA and therefore the Hawai’i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology analyzed the info recently,
a sort of iron oxide referred to as rust.
There are many iron-rich rocks on the moon
when the iron is exposed to oxygen and water to produce rust.
There’s a huge mass embedded within the center of the moon, and astronomers aren’t sure what it’s
“At first, I totally didn’t believe it.
It shouldn’t exist supported the conditions present on the Moon,” said Abigail Fraeman,
a scientist at NASA’s reaction propulsion Laboratory, during a handout.
Not only is there no air on the moon,
but it’s flooded with hydrogen that flows from the sun, carried by solar radiation.
Rust is produced
when oxygen removes electrons from iron; hydrogen does the other by adding electrons, which suggests it’s all the harder for rust to make on the hydrogen-rich moon.
“It’s very puzzling,” said Shuai Li of the University of Hawaii,
on Wednesday within the journal Science Advances. “The Moon may be a terrible environment for hematite to make in.”
After months of research, Li and therefore the NASA scientists think they’ve cracked it — and the answer to the mystery lies in our very own planet.
Here’s their theory
One major clue was the rust was more targeting the side of the moon that faces Earth
suggesting it had been somehow linked to our planet.
Earth is encompassed during a magnetic flux, and solar radiation stretches this bubble
to make an extended magnetic tail within the downwind direction.
The moon enters this tail three days before it’s full, and it takes six days to cross the tail and exit on the opposite side.
During these six days, Earth’s magnetic tail covers the moon’s surface with electrons, and everyone kind of strange thing can happen. Dust particles on the moon’s surface might float off the bottom, and moon dust might fly into a duster, consistent with NASA.
An enhanced map of hematite (dust) on the moon, shown in red employing aspheric projection of the nearside.
And, Li speculated, oxygen from the world travels on this magnetic tail to land on the moon, where it interacts with lunar water molecules to make rust.
The magnetic tail also blocks nearly all solar radiation during the complete moon
the moon is temporarily shielded from the blast of hydrogen, opening a window for rust to make.
“Our hypothesis is that lunar hematite is made through oxidation of lunar surface iron by the oxygen from the Earth’s upper atmosphere
that has been continuously blown to the lunar surface by solar radiation when the Moon is in Earth’s magnetotail during the past several billion years,” said Li during a handout by the University of Hawaii.
“This discovery will reshape our knowledge about the Moon’s polar regions,” he added. “Earth may have played a crucial role in the evolution of the Moon’s surface.”
A growing dent in Earth’s magnetic flux could impact satellites and spacecraft
on other airless bodies like asteroids. “It might be that tiny bits of water
therefore the impact of dust particles are allowing iron in these bodies to rust,” Fraeman said.
But some questions remain unanswered
where the Earth’s oxygen should not be ready to reach.
it is also still unclear how exactly water on the moon is interacting with the rock.
To gather more data for these unsolved mysteries,
NASA is building a replacement version of the instrument
that collected all this existing data about the moon’s mineral composition.
one among these features are going to be ready to map water ice
on the moon’s craters — and “may be ready to reveal new details about hematite also,” said the NASA release.