27
May 11

Scientists make lunar watershed discovery

Source: NASA Lunar Science Institute

A team of NASA-funded researchers has measured for the first time water from the moon in the form of tiny globules of molten rock, which have turned to glass-like material trapped within crystals. Data from these newly-discovered lunar melt inclusions indicate the water content of lunar magma is 100 times higher than previous studies suggested.

The inclusions were found in lunar sample 74220, the famous high-titanium "orange glass soil" of volcanic origin collected during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. The scientific team used a state-of-the-art ion microprobe instrument to measure the water content of the inclusions, which were formed during explosive eruptions on the moon approximately 3.7 billion years ago.

The results published in the May 26 issue of Science Express raise questions about aspects of the "giant impact theory" of how the moon was created. That theory predicted very low water content of lunar rock due to catastrophic degassing during the collision of Earth with a Mars-sized body very early in its history. (read more)

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