The rocks collected on the moon during the Apollo missions of the 60 and 70 no longer surprises in store. Scientists had observed the presence of water in some of the samples, and now, according to a study published in Nature Geoscience, also suggests that the solar wind might be behind the formation of this molecule.
A team of three American universities, led from Tennessee, has confirmed that the samples of vitreous kernels are “significant quantities” of hydroxyl (OH), from micrometeroritos, meteorites smaller than 1mm, which have been impacted with our satellite.
But researchers have gone further and have found that the hydrogen isotopic composition of the material suggests that part of the proceeds of the particles hydroxyl brings the solar wind, and its composition is similar geochemistry.
The study suggests, therefore, that the solar wind provides hydrogen ions to the surface of the moon, and who might be trapped in areas like the poles. Then he would turn and would store as hydroxyl and water in the regolith grains (superficial layer) of the moon, where probes have also detected the presence of these molecules.
The paper suggests that a similar mechanism could provide hydroxyl surfaces other rocky bodies where the solar wind interacts directly with the surface, such as Mercury or asteroid Vesta.
The French expert Marc Chaussidon, University of Lorraine, also in Nature Geoscience says that these findings “open the door to a new source of water for inner solar system bodies.”