News / Science & Technology

Earth and Moon Share Water Source

Volcanic glasses collected during Apollo moon missions during the early 1970s.
Volcanic glasses collected during Apollo moon missions during the early 1970s.
Rosanne Skirble
Water on the moon came from the same source thought to have supplied most of the water on Earth, according to new research published in the journal Science. The common origin offers new insights into how planets formed and evolved.

Scientists have long believed our Moon was formed when a Mars-size planet collided with the Earth 4.5 billion years ago and jettisoned a disk of molten debris into space. The cataclysm would have generated enough heat on the newborn Moon to burn off the elements needed to form water, leaving it bone dry.  

But in a series of papers over the past five years, Brown University geochemist Alberto Saal and his colleagues have been telling another story. Using new instruments, they re-examined samples of lunar rocks collected by astronauts on the Apollo Moon-landing missions in the early 1970s.   

Water on Moon Earth and Moon Share Water Source
Water on Moon Earth and Moon Share Water Sourcei
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
“We found the first evidence (of) the components of water in lunar volcanic rocks. And these volcanic rocks come from the interior of the Moon, therefore the interior of the moon should have the components that will form water.”   

In 2011, they reported that the chemical signatures of water trapped in the ancient lunar rocks matched those found in rocks from the interior of the Earth.   

“Therefore we thought that somehow the water that is in the Moon is related to the water we see on Earth. They have the same type of origin. They came from the same type of reservoir. So the question came up of where the water came from, and how the water got to the Moon,” said Saal.

As much as 98 percent of the water on the young Earth is believed to have come from ice-bearing meteorites - debris from the formation of the solar system that rained down on the still-cooling planet 4.5 billion years ago.

“Essentially the Earth when it formed, formed with water by the coalescence of these very early solid materials that formed from the solar nebulae," said Saal.

Saal believes some of that water was transported with the new Moon during its birth in that cataclysmic collision.

“Somehow, we don’t know how exactly, but somehow part of that water was not completely evaporated into vacuum, but some of that water went to the Moon,” he said.

Saal’s research helps explain how terrestrial planets like Earth, Venus, Mars and Mercury formed. Prior to evidence of water on the Moon, there was no reason to suspect that these planets would have had water when they formed. Saal says while Earth is a dynamic evolving system, the Moon is a fossilized record of our planet’s origins.  
 
“By looking at the Moon and [seeing] that the rocks on the moon have water and that that water looks very similar to Earth that gives us the indication that the water on Earth came very, very early and probably most likely the Earth formed with water,” he said.

Saal plans to analyze more Moon samples to confirm the findings, which may reveal more details about the events that formed the Moon, and its link to early Earth.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More