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Formation Of Water On The Moon


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This is a repeat of a post at the earth science forum because, by coincidence, the two articles appeared on he same day on the same Science Daily report and do seem to connect.  But it being a chemical story, here it is again.

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https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190521101458.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29

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This is a repeat of a post at the earth science forum because, by coincidence, the two articles appeared on he same day on the same Science Daily report and do seem to connect.  But it being a chemical story, here it is again.

,

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190521101458.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29

OK so they suggest protons (i.e. hydrogen nuclei) from the sun can adsorb on the surface of lunar minerals and react with oxygen bound in these minerals (which are all silicates of some kind, so have plenty of oxygen in them), leading to generation of water. This process must be very slow indeed, I would have thought. I wonder how the rate of formation compares with the rate at which the water vapour boils off into space. There ought to be some data somewhere on the solar wind flux and we have vapour pressure data on water at various temperatures. But I suppose one does not know the rate at which protons are captured by the minerals. 

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OK so they suggest protons (i.e. hydrogen nuclei) from the sun can adsorb on the surface of lunar minerals and react with oxygen bound in these minerals (which are all silicates of some kind, so have plenty of oxygen in them), leading to generation of water. This process must be very slow indeed, I would have thought. I wonder how the rate of formation compares with the rate at which the water vapour boils off into space. There ought to be some data somewhere on the solar wind flux and we have vapour pressure data on water at various temperatures. But I suppose one does not know the rate at which protons are captured by the minerals. 

One question.  If gases are being adsorbed onto the surface of a mineral (more solid than said gas even with its oxygen),  would not there be some form of attraction in the mineral to attract that gas?  Or must we believe that it is totally a matter of gravitational fall?  The latter is hard to believe of gas but my view of gas in action may be askew.  I see gas as drifting away, not falling onto.  Wrong view?  Gas drifts in all directions.

 

I think I had better stop and I have not even gotten to the second chapter - the water - to say nothing of the solar wind flux.  What is going through my mind will not give us a technically correct rate but would it say which is faster: the formation of the water or its evaporation?   The thought: Would observing how long it takes humidity in a room to become moisture on surfaces say anything?  I ask this because of what I observe in our high-humidity summers.  But that only happens in a closed area.  Yes?  In open space?

 

Now I know I'd better stop!  Thank you for the intriguing puzzle.

Edited by hazelm
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  • 2 weeks later...

The favored theory about the formation of our Earth and Moon is that they formed from the impact of two Mars sized objects, in which case both resulting bodies should have the same chemical content.  To the best of my recollection the tons of samples brought back from the Apollo missions confirmed that we are geologically identical.  If there were no known physical processes that could have occurred on the early Earth to cause the formation of water, then we have to assume that water already existed elsewhere.  With insufficient gravity to retain an atmosphere, the water on the moon evaporated into space, except for what was bound with other elements.  The discovery of water on other planets and moons indicate that water is not unique to Earth.  Venus has water vapor in its hot toxic atmosphere, Mars has a polar ice cap, and water has been detected on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, the planet formerly known as Pluto, and most of their moons.

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What I forgot to add in the post above is that the hot rocky inner planets most likely received their water from comet impacts after they solidified.

 

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/CLGR0SLtgVA/maxresdefault.jpg

(You are not allowed to use that image extension on this community)(*&%$#)@*@+! it)

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The favored theory about the formation of our Earth and Moon is that they formed from the impact of two Mars sized objects, in which case both resulting bodies should have the same chemical content.  To the best of my recollection the tons of samples brought back from the Apollo missions confirmed that we are geologically identical.  If there were no known physical processes that could have occurred on the early Earth to cause the formation of water, then we have to assume that water already existed elsewhere.  With insufficient gravity to retain an atmosphere, the water on the moon evaporated into space, except for what was bound with other elements.  The discovery of water on other planets and moons indicate that water is not unique to Earth.  Venus has water vapor in its hot toxic atmosphere, Mars has a polar ice cap, and water has been detected on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, the planet formerly known as Pluto, and most of their moons.

Makes sense to me.  Back in my dark ages, we were  told that the moon was formed from an impact that tore out a huge mass of Earth, leaving what is now the Pacific Ocean.   That also made sense to me.  Conclusion?  :nono:

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Makes sense to me.  Back in my dark ages, we were  told that the moon was formed from an impact that tore out a huge mass of Earth, leaving what is now the Pacific Ocean.   That also made sense to me.  Conclusion?  :nono:

 

Either way the planet and abnormally large satellite that we know and love is here, and as a result so are we.

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