BREAKING: Scientists just found 300 billion tons of water on the Moon

Although its origin, storage and movement are still unknown, we now know that water exists on the Moon. Chinese researchers have discovered small glass beads in the lunar soil that may hide water.

In addition, a significant amount of water is at stake, which could reach 270 trillion kilos (297.6 billion tons).

The new discoveries have been made based on samples returned by China's Chang'e 5 rover mission. In December 2020, the spacecraft spent a few weeks collecting samples from the lunar surface, and further investigation has already produced some fascinating new findings.

Impact glass beads under analysis. (He et al, Nature Geoscience, 2023)

When space rock fragments collide with another object, they tend to vaporize minerals that cool and become small glassy particles only a few tens or hundreds of micrometers in diameter. This is how small glass beads are developed. Previous research on beads discovered in Apollo lunar samples helped disprove previous theories about the Moon's dryness.

According to current research, a significant amount of the Moon's water is created, although not entirely, by the Sun's winds. This is because the hydrogen ions from these showers of solar particles combine with the oxygen already present. It is present in the soil of the Moon.

The researchers behind this most recent discovery speculate that the reservoir of water these beads could represent could be crucial to the lunar water cycle. Reserves held in amorphous impact glass can be used to restore water lost to space.

In their recently published study, the researchers state that "impact glass beads preserve hydration signatures and display water abundance profiles consistent with inward diffusion of water derived from the solar wind."

How the lunar water cycle could work. (He et al., Nature Geoscience, 2023)

Each glass bead can contain up to 2,000 micrograms (0.002 grams) of water per gram of mass of the particle. According to a study on hydration signals, experts believe that pearls can absorb water in a matter of years.

"This short diffusion time indicates that water derived from the solar wind can rapidly accumulate and be stored in lunar impact glass beads," the researchers wrote.

Understanding all of this is crucial to helping lunar missions and bases. Long-term residence on the lunar surface can be considerably more pleasant if they have access to this enormous water supply.

In addition, according to experts, water may be stored in the surface layers of other "airless bodies", such as the Moon. As more analyzes are performed on the Chang'e 5 samples, more findings along similar lines are expected.

Geophysicist and research co-author Hu Sen of the Chinese Academy of Sciences says: "These results suggest that impact crystals on the surface of the Moon and other airless bodies in the Solar System are capable of storing wind-derived water. solar and release it into space."

Reference: Nature Geoscience

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