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Glasses in Moon's soil preserve water from multiple sources: study


A team of Chinese scientists has discovered that glassy materials within the lunar soil samples, which were brought back by the country's Chang'e-5 lunar exploration mission, contain hydroxyl and molecular water generated from a variety of sources.

The study published on Saturday in the journal Science Advances revealed that the glass in the lunar soil created by meteorites or micrometeorites impacts is the primary carrier of molecular water in lunar soil.

The researchers from the Institute of Geochemistry under the Chinese Academy of Sciences analyzed nearly 100 samples of impact glass collected during the Chang'e-5 mission and identified 12 grains that were found to contain hydroxyl and molecular water.

The water was found to have originated from multiple potential sources including proton implantation from solar wind, the delivery of water-rich meteorites or micrometeorites, and water native to the moon, according to the study.

Notably, the primary contributor to this water is solar wind implantation, highlighting its significant role in the formation of lunar water.

The findings could help researchers understand the sources and storage pathways for water during the development of terrestrial planets, said Tang Hong, the paper's corresponding author.

The Chang'e-5 probe, which returned to Earth on December 17, 2020, retrieved 1,731 grams of lunar samples, consisting primarily of rocks and soil from the lunar surface.

This month, China launched the Chang'e-6 spacecraft to collect and return samples from the moon's far side to understand the formation and evolution of the moon.

(Cover image via CFP)

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency
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