270 billion tons of water could be locked in microscopic glass beads on the lunar surface, Chinese scientists have determined based on examination of rock samples returned by the Chang’o-5 probe. Each glass bead is about one hundred micrometers in size and can hold 2,000 micrograms of water each. The result is a Natural Earth Sciences announce.
The American Apollo missions have shown the presence of hydrogen in the lunar soil since the 1970s, and in the 1990s, more water was discovered in the eternally shadowed craters located in the corners of the celestial body. However, in 2020, NASA’s SOFIA Infrared Observatory, built aboard a Boeing aircraft, identified water outside craters in the corners of the Moon. In general, it was possible to find out that there is water on the Moon, but not how much it was and how it got there.
Examining samples returned in December 2020, Chinese experts plotted one possible scenario for the lunar water cycle. The essence of this is that the hydrogen atoms contained in the solar wind meet the rocks of the surface of the celestial body and form water with its oxygen-containing compounds. During moonlit nights, water accumulates in this way, and then evaporates under the influence of the sun. There was a question as to why he was staying.
Glass beads are key to this phenomenon. It consists of droplets of rock melted by the explosions of asteroid impacts, which cool and then return to the surface. Over the course of billions of years, these formed in large quantities on the Moon
The water is stored 12 meters below the surface.
According to the analysis results, the water in the pearls accumulates within a few years, representing a natural water storage layer that is constantly replenished.
This discovery could be very useful for a human base to be installed on the moon: water is also excellent as a drink, its oxygen content is breathable, and hydrogen is a good fuel for a rocket or fusion reactor. If they can extract the water locally, that would provide a great payload for other useful things on the mission. But that’s not all: according to scientists, the phenomenon can act in the same way on other celestial bodies without an atmosphere, in other words, they discovered a global source of water.
(CNNAnd Science alertAnd Space.com)
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