A recent finding by scientists at Tohoku University's Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences, Japan, has aided the earlier theories of the presence of water on Moon. The research team was headed by Masahiro Kayama, an assistant professor and research scholar of Meteoritics, Spectroscopy, Mineralogy and Planetary Sciences.
While conducting some tests on a lunar meteorite that was found in the North Western desert region of Africa, the researchers discovered the presence of moganite in one of the meteorite sample.
Presence of moganite in a lunar meteorite came as a big surprise because moganite cannot be formed without the presence of water.
"Moganite is a crystal of silicon dioxide and is similar to quartz. It forms on Earth as a precipitate when alkaline water, including SiO2, is evaporated under high-pressure conditions," says Kayama. "The existence of moganite strongly implies that there is water activity on the Moon."
In total, the research team analyzed 13 different meteor samples that were collected from the same region but only one of the sample contained moganite. This discarded the theory that moganite would have formed after the meteor entered into Earth’s atmosphere, had this been the case, it should have also been present in at least some of the other samples.
"If terrestrial weathering had produced moganite in the lunar meteorite, there should be moganite present in all the samples that fell to Earth around the same time. However, this was not the case," says Kayama.
Some parts of the moganite in the meteor sample have changed to high-pressure SiO2 minerals, the conditions required for that transformation do not exist in the region where the meteors were found.
The heavy collisions that keep on happening on Moon are the only explanation that could have transformed some parts of the moganite into high-pressure minerals.
Kayama and his team of researchers used advanced methods to decipher the chemical composition and presence of different minerals in the meteor samples, high magnification was achieved through electron microscopy techniques; micro-Raman spectroscopy allowed them to study the atomic vibrations of the meteor sample and determine the structure of different minerals that were present in them.
Kayama and his team are very excited about their new findings, and they further want to study the effect of solar winds and volcanic activities on Moon’s mantle.
"Solar wind-induced water can give us new insight into the history of solar activity, and volcanic water provides us with information of lunar evolution together with water," says Kayama, about his lab's next project. "It's all very exciting."
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