The Moon Contains Water According to Scientists
For tens of years, it was believed that the Moon was dry. Then two years ago, a probe sent by NASA crashed on the surface of the moon and it discovered that there was ice water in some of its craters. More recently, an orbiting Indian spacecraft stated that the entire surface of the moon might have been covered by a veneer of water. The researchers are now analyzing the small fragments of lunar lava which erupted a very long time ago. The researchers have stated that the moon fragments are very similar to the early earth fragments, in the sense that they contain lots of water. Because of this, they believe that large quantities of water are located under the surface of the moon. Erik H. Hauri, a staff scientist in geochemistry at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, said that the discovery surprised him.
He and his colleagues have stated three years ago that there might be lots of water on the Moon, but despite of their bold and possibly accurate prediction, he is still surprised. When they made the statement three years ago, they looked at pieces of volcanic glass collected by the astronauts who landed on the Moon during the Apollo mission. The pieces of volcanic glass contained water, but the size of the water was extremely small. The volcanic glass contained only 0.0046 percent water. However, they stated that the magma contained much more water, and that around 95 percent of it escaped as it cooled. Alberto E. Saal, a professor of geological sciences at Brown University was the one who gave Thomas Weinreich, a Brown freshman, a vial containing moon dirt, and asked the student to look through it, as he might find something worth mentioning. He looked into them, and he realized that amongst the soil there were extremely small fragments of glass.
The crystals from the vials prevented the water located inside the glass to escape. The water located inside the glass was much more common than in the case of the previous discovery. In fact, it was 20 to 100 times what was previously discovered. Dr. Saal said that it is 100 percent certain that certain parts from the moon contain just as much water as our planet does. However, it is unknown how spread the water reservoir is. However, not everyone agree with this theory. Zachary D. Sharp of the University of New Mexico for example, said last year, quite the opposite. He and his colleagues analyzed the concentrations of chlorine isotopes in lunar rocks, and they reached to the conclusion that the rocks hardened because of the lava which did not contain any traces of water whatsoever. If the moon contains large amounts of water, then the water discovered last year by the lunar probe, might have come from volcanic eruptions, and not from an asteroid impact, as it was believed.
If the theory is true, then the theories regarding the way in which the moon formed should change as well. It is said that the Earth collided with an interloper the size of Mars around 4.6 billion years ago, and the moon was the result of the collision. It has been stated that the impact would have created a large amount of debris at extreme temperatures, of thousands of degrees. The scientists have stated that because of this, the water could not be present on the moon, as it would have escaped its surface before it cooled down and materialized in the moon we are familiar with. David J. Stevenson, a professor of planetary science at the California Institute of Technology, said that the situation is very confusing. The giant impact theory seems to be plausible, as it might explain the orbit, the size, and all the other physical characteristics of the moon. However, the scientists were unable to explain the exact formation of the moon. On top of that, the fact that water is present on the moon makes things even more complicated. It seems that everybody is confused about it, as each and every one has a different opinion about this subject.11