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Meteoroid Strikes Eject Precious Water From Moon

17 Apr 2019, 21:32 UTC
Meteoroid Strikes Eject Precious Water From Moon
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Researchers from NASA and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, report that streams of meteoroids striking the Moon infuse the thin lunar atmosphere with a short-lived water vapor.The findings will help scientists understand the history of lunar water — a potential resource for sustaining long term operations on the Moon and human exploration of deep space. Models had predicted that meteoroid impacts could release water from the Moon as a vapor, but scientists hadn’t yet observed the phenomenon. Now, the team has found dozens of these events in data collected by NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer. LADEE was a robotic mission that orbited the Moon to gather detailed information about the structure and composition of the thin lunar atmosphere, and determine whether dust is lofted into the lunar sky.“We traced most of these events to known meteoroid streams, but the really surprising part is that we also found evidence of four meteoroid streams that were previously undiscovered,” said Mehdi Benna of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Benna is the lead author of the study, published in Nature Geosciences.The newly identified meteoroid streams, observed by ...

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