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Mysterious Hidden Force Is Generating Water on the Moon

Rare Blue moon in the dark space
In a new research, scientists say that a mysterious hidden force might be generating water on the Moon. Credit: Yulia Kolosova / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-4.0.

A recent study reveals that electric waves, which come from Earth and the Sun but don’t hit the Moon directly, are helping to create ice on the Moon’s surface.

These electric waves strike the Moon when it moves in and out of Earth’s magnetotail. This magnetotail is what Earth leaves behind as it travels through space.

Inside this magnetotail, there’s a plasma sheet. It’s filled with supercharged electrons and ions. These particles come from Earth’s atmosphere and the Sun’s radiation.

In the past, scientists studied how the magnetotail and the bigger magnetosphere could affect the creation of water on the Moon. The magnetosphere evolved because Earth’s magnetic field shields us from the Sun’s powerful solar wind. This leads to a variety of reactions in space.

Planetary scientist Shuai Li from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa pointed out that this situation allows us to study how lunar surface water forms naturally.

When the Moon is not in the magnetotail’s vicinity, the lunar surface gets hit by the Sun’s solar wind. However, when it’s inside the magnetotail, there are hardly any solar wind protons. Scientists thought that the creation of water on the Moon would almost stop completely.

High-energy electrons interacting with the Moon’s soil

When scientists analyze the situation from a distance, it turns out this isn’t what happens. Previous research indicated that hydrogen ions from the Sun’s solar winds were responsible for creating water on the Moon.

However, it appears that water is still being made even when the lunar surface is shielded from solar winds within the magnetotail.

Researchers believe that different factors are in play here, particularly electrons. They suspect that high-energy electrons could be interacting with the Moon’s soil, causing the release of trapped hydrogen, which then combines to form water.

Li explains that inside the magnetotail, there could be extra ways that water forms or new sources of water that don’t come from the solar wind protons. Specifically, the radiation from high-energy electrons seems to have similar effects as the solar wind protons.

However, there is a need to conduct further observations and experiments on the Moon’s surface to confirm this. It’s an intriguing idea, and it’s just one of many possibilities that scientists are investigating to uncover the origins of water on the Moon.

The quest to understand the source of lunar water holds significant importance for several reasons. It provides insights into the Moon’s history, and it’s crucial for our efforts to establish a long-term human presence on the lunar surface, reported Science Alert.

“Altogether, this finding and my previous findings of rusty lunar poles indicate that the mother Earth is strongly tied with its Moon in many unrecognized aspects,” says Li.

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