Okay, so our satellite may not be made of cheese, like American kids are told, but it’s not a dry, boring rock either. The Moon is another world above our world and, on it, there are all kinds of natural reliefs: craters, mountain ranges, volcanoes and even water. Because yes, there is water on the Moon and we are not facing a new discovery. It is something that we have known for quite some time, that our satellite is hydrated. In fact, the press echoes from time to time scientific articles that study water on the Moon and its peculiarities, although they are usually titled something like this: Scientists find water on the Moon. If we are honest, that is not the news, what is really important is how the water they have found is and that is the case, because in one of the latest studies on this subject they have found water in the form of pearls.
We can call them pearls, but they have nothing to do with them and their layered structure of mother-of-pearl.. All they have in common is their shape, so we might as well have called them spheres, beads, globules, etc. Beyond curiosity, it seems that these pearls are the key to the Moon conserving water despite all the water it loses to the cosmos. Because its lack of atmosphere makes liquid water escape more easily. But, first of all, let’s go in parts, because there is a lot to explain before we focus on pearls. The first question is perhaps: How come there is water on the Moon?
The answer, if we want to start at the end, is that, in reality, the Earth was formed from our planet and, therefore, it makes sense that they have similar compositions and that water is among them. If we want the longest answer, we’ll have to start by saying that we don’t really know for sure how the Moon formed, but one of the leading hypotheses is that 4.5 billion years ago, a primitive half-formed planet (a protoplanet) , collided with us. It has been named Thea after the Greek Titan of the same name, possibly as an allusion to its considerable size, normally compared to Mars, which is why it would be around 6,779 kilometers in diameter. That collision caused fragments of our planet and of Thea itself to be ejected, which, over time, would end up aggregating into a body in a stable orbit around us, a planetary companion that we would name Luna.
If this hypothesis were correct, we could assume that this is the origin of the water on the Moon, or at least most of it. Because apart from that primordial water that could be in the planetary disks, it may also have arrived in the form of comets and (perhaps) asteroids, crashing into their surface and splashing it a bit with that space moisture. Be it one way, the other or both, we already have fairly approximate ideas of how the water got to the Moon, but that is not all, as we said, there is another great unknown.
The normal thing would be that the water of the Moon, without atmosphere and with so little gravity, would be lost in space, evaporated. Why doesn’t this happen? Pearls may be the answer, because it means that some of the water on the Moon is in a way that it can’t escape into space. These glass beads are formed by the impact of asteroids and could be a reservoir of water that, from the depths, helps to rehydrate the surface when it dries up. We know that the surface water of the Moon follows day and night cycles, so it is worth asking how they recover after dehydration and the answer could be here, in these glass reservoirs.
We have greatly exaggerated that the Earth is the blue planet, really. Because it is in that we don’t know of other planets or satellites with so many oceans of liquid water on their surface. The problem is that we have wanted to understand that water is something exclusive to our home, and that is not true. The water in the universe is not exceptional, it is not newsworthy, it just is. It is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, two of the most common elements in the cosmos. How could he not be present?
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- The water cycle on the Moon is still largely unknown, but thanks to research like this, we are beginning to get to know the actors involved in it.