Paris (AFP) Jan 9, 2011
Water on the Moon came in large part from comets which bombarded the lunar surface in its infancy, a study published on Sunday suggests.
For decades, the Moon was thought to have been as dry as it was void of life and atmosphere.
This assumption, though, has been revisited after findings by NASA last year of significant traces of frozen water in a permanently shadowed crater.
Astrophysicists led by James Greenwood of Wesleyan University in Connecticut analysed rock samples collected during the Apollo expeditions, looking in particular at variations in hydrogen isotopes in a water-loving mineral called apatite.
The signature, they say, points to three potential sources: from the sub-surface lunar mantle, from protons brought by the "solar wind" of particles blasted from the Sun -- and from comets.
The isotope measurements in the apatite were similar to those previously found in three well-known comets: Hale-Bopp, Hyakutake and Halley.
Comets have been described as frozen reservoirs of water orbiting the Sun, for they contain vast quantities of ice in their heads.
Under a "giant impact" theory dating back to the 1970s, the Moon was formed from part of Earth, after our planet collided with a space rock or planet some 4.5 billion years ago.
"Significant delivery" of cometary water occurred after the Moon-forming event, suggests Greenwood's team.
Comets also provided Earth with some of its lavish endowment of water as well as key chemicals to kickstart life, according to some hypotheses.
The paper is published online by the journal Nature Geoscience.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more
Rocket City Space Pioneers Announce Partnership With Solidworks
Huntsville AL (SPX) Jan 07, 2011
The Rocket City Space Pioneers - a partnership of Huntsville businesses, educational institutions and non-profit organizations - have announced that Dassault Systemes SolidWorks has partnered with them as a sponsor to provide software for their entry in the Google Lunar X PRIZE (GLXP). The GLXP is a $30 million competition that challenges space professionals and engineers from across the g ... read more
Rover Continues To Explore Santa Maria Crater|
NASA tries to awaken mars rover
NASA Checking On Rover Spirit During Martian Spring
Rover Will Spend Seventh Birthday At Stadium-Size Crater
Cassini To Probe Rhea For Clues To Saturn Rings
New Images Indicate Tectonic Activity On Rhea
Cassini Celebrates 10 Years Since Jupiter Encounter
DLR Researchers Compile Atlas Of Saturn's Moon Rhea, An Icy Alien World
Mission To Pluto And Beyond Marks 10 Years Since Project Inception
Kuiper Belt Of Many Colors
Reaching The Mid-Mission Milestone On The Way To Pluto
New Horizons Student Dust Counter Instrument Breaks Distance Record
Venus probe may get 2nd chance soon
Japan probe shoots past Venus, may meet again in six years
Reflections - Personal and Planetary
Venus Holds Warning For Earth
Under Pressure: Stormy Weather Sensor For Hurricane Forecasting
NASA Image Shows La Nina-Caused Woes Down Under
Google illegally gathered data in S.Korea: police
Sat-nav turtles go on trans-ocean trek
Canada says it could build launch rockets
ISRO Scanning Data For GSLV Flop
J-2X Turbomachinery Complete
New Technology: Hybrid Ion Rocket Engine
NASA aims to launch Discovery Feb 24
Repairs push shuttle launch to late Feb.
Further delay for final Discovery launch
Shuttles' successes, failures discussed
Extension of space station support fails
Paolo Nespoli Arrives At ISS
Dextre's Final Exam Scheduled For December 22-23
Russian rocket docks with space station
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|