Indication of water on the moon from mineral in lunar meteorite
A group of researchers led by Masahiro Kayama of Tohoku University has discovered evidence in a lunar meteorite that water once in existence existed on the moon. In their discovery published on the open access site Science Advances, they demonstrated their study of the meteorite and why they think it provides proof of water on the moon.
Water on the moon might be valuable since it could support a colony or used for other purposes, like powering spacecraft. In this new discovery, the researchers were studying one of the lunar meteorites located on Earth’s surface. The fragment studied by the team in Japan is unique because it has some amount of moganite, a mineral which forms only in the presence of water.
Previous research indicated that the meteorite, named NWA 272, crashed into a northern part of Africa about 17,000 years ago. Comparison with other moon surface material confirmed it came from the lunar surface, as well. After discovering it had moganite, the team did more tests to illustrate that it had not formed after landing on Earth.
To illustrate the presence of the mineral, the team advocates that the moon was struck by a comet or other water-bearing object. Some of the water likely evaporated, but some would also have leaked into the lunar surface. As the water sat below the surface, moganite eventually formed. Afterward, the same area was hit once again by an object that flung bits of the lunar surface containing the moganite into space.
Afterward, it made its way to Earth. The researchers propose that their discovery is exciting since logic suggests if water were under the surface at one time, more could be there now. It is just a matter of making the effort to find it.