Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Water in Moon Rocks Challenges Moon Formation Theory

Astronaut James B. Irwin, lunar module pilot, works at the Lunar Roving Vehicle during the first Apollo 15 lunar surface extravehicular activity at the Hadley-Apennine landing site

Astronaut James B. Irwin, lunar module pilot, who was a native of the Beechview section of the City of Pittsburgh, works at the Lunar Roving Vehicle during the first Apollo 15 lunar surface extravehicular activity at the Hadley-Apennine landing site / NASA/David R. Scott

By Elizabeth Howell /
Space.com/ February 19, 2013, 12:21 PM

The discovery of "significant amounts" of water in moon rock samples collected by NASA's Apollo astronauts is challenging a longstanding theory about how the moon formed, scientists say.

Since the Apollo era, scientists have thought the moon came to be after a Mars-size object smashed into Earth early in the planet's history, generating a ring of debris that slowly coalesced over millions of years.

That process, scientists have said, should have flung away the water-forming element hydrogen into space.

But a new study suggests the accepted scenario is not possible given the amount of water found in moon rocks collected from the lunar surface in the early 1970s during the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions. By "water," the researchers don't mean liquid water, but hydroxyl, a chemical that includes the hydrogen and oxygen ingredients of water.

Those water-forming elements would have been on the moon all along, the scientist said.

"I still think the impact scenario is the best formation scenario for the moon, but we need to reconcile the theory of hydrogen," study leader Hejiu Hui, an engineering researcher at the University of Notre Dame, told SPACE.com.

The results were published in Nature Geoscience on Sunday (Feb. 17).

More - Link >>> http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57570074/apollo-moon-rocks-challenge-lunar-water-theory/

Sources: Space.com, CBS News.

Biography - Astronaut James B. Irwin, Eighth Man to Walk on the Moon, a Native of the Beechview Section of the City of Pittsburgh:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/bio/Pghastronauts.html#irwin 


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