Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Water on the Moon: It's Been There All Along

20.02.2013
Traces of water have been detected within the crystalline structure of mineral samples from the lunar highland upper crust obtained during the Apollo missions, according to a University of Michigan researcher and his colleagues.

The lunar highlands are thought to represent the original crust, crystallized from a magma ocean on a mostly molten early moon. The new findings indicate that the early moon was wet and that water there was not substantially lost during the moon's formation.

The results seem to contradict the predominant lunar formation theory—that the moon was formed from debris generated during a giant impact between Earth and another planetary body, approximately the size of Mars, according to U-M's Youxue Zhang and his colleagues.

"Because these are some of the oldest rocks from the moon, the water is inferred to have been in the moon when it formed," Zhang said. "That is somewhat difficult to explain with the current popular moon-formation model, in which the moon formed by collecting the hot ejecta as the result of a super-giant impact of a martian-size body with the proto-Earth.

"Under that model, the hot ejecta should have been degassed almost completely, eliminating all water."

A paper titled "Water in lunar anorthosites and evidence for a wet early moon" was published online Feb. 17 in the journal Nature Geoscience. The first author is Hejiu Hui, postdoctoral research associate of civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences at the University of Notre Dame. Hui received a doctorate at U-M under Zhang, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and one of three co-authors of the Nature Geoscience paper.

Over the last five years, spacecraft observations and new lab measurements of Apollo lunar samples have overturned the long-held belief that the moon is bone-dry.

In 2008, laboratory measurement of Apollo lunar samples by ion microprobe detected indigenous hydrogen, inferred to be the water-related chemical species hydroxyl, in lunar volcanic glasses. In 2009, NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing satellite, known as LCROSS, slammed into a permanently shadowed lunar crater and ejected a plume of material that was surprisingly rich in water ice.

Hydroxyls have also been detected in other volcanic rocks and in the lunar regolith, the layer of fine powder and rock fragments that coats the lunar surface. Hydroxyls, which consist of one atom of hydrogen and one of oxygen, were also detected in the lunar anorthosite study reported in Nature Geoscience.

In the latest work, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy was used to analyze the water content in grains of plagioclase feldspar from lunar anorthosites, highland rocks composed of more than 90 percent plagioclase. The bright-colored highlands rocks are thought to have formed early in the moon's history when plagioclase crystallized from a magma ocean and floated to the surface.

The infrared spectroscopy work, which was conducted at Zhang's U-M lab and co-author Anne Peslier's lab, detected about 6 parts per million of water in the lunar anorthosites.

"The surprise discovery of this work is that in lunar rocks, even in nominally water-free minerals such as plagioclase feldspar, the water content can be detected," said Zhang, the James R. O'Neil Collegiate Professor of Geological Sciences.

"It's not 'liquid' water that was measured during these studies but hydroxyl groups distributed within the mineral grain," said Notre Dame's Hui. "We are able to detect those hydroxyl groups in the crystalline structure of the Apollo samples."

The hydroxyl groups the team detected are evidence that the lunar interior contained significant water during the moon's early molten state, before the crust solidified, and may have played a key role in the development of lunar basalts.

"The presence of water," said Hui, "could imply a more prolonged solidification of the lunar magma ocean than the once-popular anhydrous moon scenario suggests."

The researchers analyzed grains from ferroan anorthosites 15415 and 60015, as well as troctolite 76535. Ferroan anorthosite 15415 is one the best known rocks of the Apollo collection and is popularly called the Genesis Rock because the astronauts thought they had a piece of the moon's primordial crust. It was collected on the rim of Apur Crater during the Apollo 15 mission.

Rock 60015 is highly shocked ferroan anorthosite collected near the lunar module during the Apollo 16 mission. Troctolite 76535 is a coarse-grained plutonic rock collected during the Apollo 17 mission.

Co-author Peslier is at Jacobs Technology and NASA's Johnson Space Center. The fourth author of the Nature Geoscience paper, Clive Neal, is a professor of civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences at the University of Notre Dame. The work was supported by NASA.

DITORS: A high-resolution photo of a lunar sample used in this study is available at www.ns.umich.edu/Releases/2013/Feb13/water.html

Jim Erickson | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu
http://www.ns.umich.edu/Releases/2013/Feb13/water.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht What would a tsunami in the Mediterranean look like?
27.08.2015 | European Geosciences Union

nachricht NASA sees former Typhoon Atsani's remnants affecting Alaska
27.08.2015 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Optische Schalter - Lernen mit Licht

Einem deutsch-französischen Team ist es gelungen, einen lichtempfindlichen Schalter für Nervenzellen zu entwickeln. Dies ermöglicht neue Einblicke in die Funktionsweise von Gedächtnis und Lernen, aber auch in die Entstehung von Krankheiten.

Lernen ist nur möglich, weil die Verknüpfungen zwischen den Nervenzellen im Gehirn fortwährend umgebaut werden: Je häufiger bestimmte Reizübertragungswege...

Im Focus: What would a tsunami in the Mediterranean look like?

A team of European researchers have developed a model to simulate the impact of tsunamis generated by earthquakes and applied it to the Eastern Mediterranean. The results show how tsunami waves could hit and inundate coastal areas in southern Italy and Greece. The study is published today (27 August) in Ocean Science, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

Though not as frequent as in the Pacific and Indian oceans, tsunamis also occur in the Mediterranean, mainly due to earthquakes generated when the African...

Im Focus: Membranprotein in Bern erstmals entschlüsselt

Dreidimensionale (3D) Atommodelle von Proteinen sind wichtig, um deren Funktion zu verstehen. Dies ermöglicht unter anderem die Entwicklung neuer Therapieansätze für Krankheiten. Berner Strukturbiologen ist es nun gelungen, die Struktur eines wichtigen Membranproteins zu entschlüsseln – dies gelingt relativ selten und ist eine Premiere in Bern.

Membranproteine befinden sich in den Wänden der Zellen, den Zellmembranen, und nehmen im menschlichen Körper lebenswichtige Funktionen wahr. Zu ihnen gehören...

Im Focus: Quantenbeugung an einem Hauch von Nichts

Die Quantenphysik besagt, dass sich auch massive Objekte wie Wellen verhalten und scheinbar an vielen Orten zugleich sein können. Dieses Phänomen kann nachgewiesen werden, indem man diese Materiewellen an einem Gitter beugt. Eine europäische Kollaboration hat nun erstmals die Delokalisation von massiven Molekülen an einem Gitter nachgewiesen, das nur noch eine einzige Atomlage dick ist. Dieses Experiment lotete die technischen Grenzen der Materiewellentechnologie aus und knüpft dabei an ein Gedankenexperiment von Bohr und Einstein an. Die Ergebnisse werden aktuell im Journal "Nature Nanotechnology" veröffentlicht.

Die quantenmechanische Wellennatur der Materie ist die Grundlage für viele moderne Technologien, wie z. B. die höchstauflösende Elektronenmikroskopie, die...

Im Focus: Auf Zeitreise in die Vergangenheit von Randmeeren: IOW-Expedition erkundet kanadische Küstengewässer

Wie und warum haben sich küstennahe Gewässer im Lauf der letzten Jahrzehnte und Jahrhunderte verändert? Wie kann man unterscheiden, welche Prozesse natürlicher Weise dazu beigetragen haben und welche durch den Einfluss des Menschen angestoßen wurden? Lässt sich die Ostsee als intensiv erforschtes Modell mit anderen Randmeeren vergleichen? Diese Fragen stehen im Mittelpunkt der Expedition der MARIA S. MERIAN, die am 25. August 2015 im kanadischen Halifax startet und das Forschungsschiff unter Federführung des Leibniz-Instituts für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde (IOW) in den Sankt-Lorenz-Strom und den Sankt-Lorenz-Golf und anschließend entlang der Küste von Labrador bis in die Hudson-Straße führt.

Mit an Bord sind insgesamt 25 WissenschaftlerInnen, darunter 15 vom IOW und 10 weitere
kanadische und U.S.-amerikanische Forschungspartner. Koordiniert wird...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

Konzepte gegen Fachkräftemangel: Demografiekonferenz in Halle

27.08.2015 | Veranstaltungen

Neue Lösungen für Passivierung und Wafering: Fraunhofer CSP auf der EU PVSEC

27.08.2015 | Veranstaltungen

Tagung des CHF-KL: Industrie 4.0 und Digitalisierung - Herausforderungen für das Personalmanagement

27.08.2015 | Veranstaltungen

 
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Tiefer Blick in die Mechanismen von Halos

27.08.2015 | Physik Astronomie

Forschungsteam der Universität Hamburg beobachtet Auferstehung eines kosmischen (Radio-)Phönix

27.08.2015 | Physik Astronomie

Erfolgreiche Bor-Dotierung von Graphen-Nanoband

27.08.2015 | Physik Astronomie