China’s Chang’e-5 probe finds evidence of water in situ on the lunar surface

from China The lunar lander found water on the lunar surface, making it the first time that scientists have found evidence of the substance on the earth’s satellite on site. In a study published in Chinese researchers say the lander detected signs of water molecules or hydroxyl, a close chemical relative of H2O. Chang’e-5 used a spectrometer to analyze the composition of the regolith in the immediate vicinity of his landing site. He found that most of the soil had a water concentration of less than 120 ppm, which made the lunar surface much drier than the earth.

Honglei-Linet al.

Chinese scientists believe that most of the molecules got to the moon through a process called solar wind implantation. The charged particles of the sun drove the hydrogen atoms to the surface of the moon, where they then combine with oxygen to form water and hydroxyl. Study builds on NASA findings when he found evidence of water on sunlit surfaces of the moon using an airborne infrared telescope. For decades, scientists believed that the moon was completely dry because of its almost non-existent atmosphere. Without an atmosphere there was nothing that could protect the water molecules from the sun’s rays.

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