(Image source from: busstheworld.com)
The moon is getting rusty and scientists have the evidence. Moon has no oxygen but how is it getting rusty? Read to know more.
Scientists went into shock after knowing the fact that the moon’s surface is getting rusty. Rusting of the moon should not be possible given the possibility of a lack of oxygen on the moon.
Oxygen is responsible for the creation of the rust, the other being water. But there was evidence proving the rust formation on the moon surface.
India’s lunar probe Chandrayan-1 has orbited the moon in 2008 and has gathered the data that has led to numerous discoveries over the years including the revelation that there were water molecules on the moon’s surface.
When the researchers at NASA and Hawai Institute of Geophysics and Planetology analyzed the data recently, they were stunned to find the hints of hematite which is a form of iron oxide, commonly known as rust.
There are plenty of iron-rich rocks on the moon but the rust is only produced when the iron is exposed to both oxygen and water.
Not only there is no air on the moon but it is flooded with a lot of hydrogen that comes from the sun and carried by the solar wind.
Rust is produced when oxygen removes electrons from iron and hydrogen does the opposite by adding electrons which means it is harder to form rust on the hydrogen-rich moon.
Here’s the theory of evidence:
(Image source from: cnn.com)
One of the major findings by the NASA scientists was that the rust is concentrated more on the side of the earth, which means the side of the moon that faces the earth.
This suggests that the rust formation is somehow linked to our planet-Earth.
Earth is encompassed in a magnetic field and the solar wind stretches this field to create a long magnetic tail in the downward direction.
The moon enters this tail three days before it’s full and it takes 6 days to cross the tail and exit on the other side.
During these 6 days, the earth’s magnetic tail covers the moon’s surface with electrons during which all the strange things possible can happen to the moon.
Dust particles on the moon’s surface might float off the ground and the moon’s dust might fly into a dust storm.
Oxygen from the earth travels onto this magnetic tail to land on the moon where it interacts with lunar water molecules to create the rust.
The magnetic tail also blocks nearly all the solar wind during the full moon which means the moon is shielded temporarily from the heavy income of hydrogen from the sun which opens a window for the rust to form.
This discovery will reshape our knowledge about the moon’s polar regions.
This also indicates why rust has been formed on the airless bodies like asteroids.
Isn’t this amusing?
By Gayatri Yellayi