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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid