News / Science & Technology

Earth, Moon Share Water Source

File--The moon seen from the Belarusian capital Minsk, during a partial lunar eclipse, lat April 25, 2013. Scientists believe the Moon and Earth share the same source of water.File--The moon seen from the Belarusian capital Minsk, during a partial lunar eclipse, lat April 25, 2013. Scientists believe the Moon and Earth share the same source of water.
x
File--The moon seen from the Belarusian capital Minsk, during a partial lunar eclipse, lat April 25, 2013. Scientists believe the Moon and Earth share the same source of water.
File--The moon seen from the Belarusian capital Minsk, during a partial lunar eclipse, lat April 25, 2013. Scientists believe the Moon and Earth share the same source of water.
VOA News
The Moon and Earth share the same source of water, according to new research. The latest analysis is based on new data collected by NASA spacecraft as well as the Moon rocks brought back by the Apollo missions. It shows that water inside the Moon’s mantle comes from primitive meteorites, which also supplied most of the water on Earth.

The research raises questions about the formation of the Moon. Prevailing theory holds that the moon was formed about 4.5 billion years ago from a disc of debris left over from a giant object that collided with the early Earth. Such an impact, scientists believed, would have created so much heat that hydrogen and other volatile elements would have burned off, meaning the Moon would have started completely dry.

Now, scientists are starting to believe the water on the Moon has been there all along.

“The simplest explanation for what we found is that there was water on the proto-Earth at the time of the giant impact,” said Alberto Saal, associate professor of Geological Sciences at Brown University and the study’s lead author. “Some of that water survived the impact, and that’s what we see in the Moon.”

While the findings do not necessarily negate the notion that the Moon was formed by a giant impact, scientists still can’t explain how water was able to survive.

“The impact somehow didn’t cause all the water to be lost,” Saal said. “But we don’t know what that process would be.”

Scientists were able to determine the origin of the Moon’s water by measuring the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen in the water molecules trapped inside Moon rocks and comparing that ratio to water molecules from different areas of the solar system.

Objects formed closer to the Sun have less deuterium than objects formed further out in the solar system. Researchers found that the ratio in the Moon rocks matched those on meteorites in the asteroid belt near Jupiter, which are thought to be among the oldest objects in the solar system. This, scientists say, means the source of the water on the Moon is primitive meteorites.

As much as 98 percent of the water on Earth is believed to come from primitive meteorites, according to the study, suggesting a common source of water for the Earth and Moon.

The research was co-authored by Erik Hauri of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, James Van Orman of Case Western Reserve University, and Malcolm Rutherford from Brown and published online in Science Express.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid