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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid