By David Sims, University of New Hampshire
The moon appears to be a tranquil place, but modeling done by Univ. of New Hampshire and NASA scientists suggests that, over the eons, periodic storms of solar energetic particles may have significantly altered the properties of the soil in the moon’s coldest craters through the process of sparking—a finding that could change our understanding of the evolution of planetary surfaces in the solar system.
The study, published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets, proposes that high-energy particles from uncommon, large solar storms penetrate the moon’s frigid, polar regions and electrically charge the soil. The charging may create sparking, or electrostatic breakdown, and this “breakdown weathering” process has possibly changed the very nature of the moon’s polar soil, suggesting that permanently shadowed regions, which hold clues to our solar system’s past, may be more active than previously thought.
More - Link >>> http://www.rdmag.com/news/2014/08/electric-sparks-may-alter-evolution-lunar-soil?et_cid=4113094&et_rid=544605860&location=top
Sources: University of New Hampshire, R & D Magazine.
2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium
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