WASHINGTON (AFP) – The moon may have a lot more water than imagined, perhaps as much as on Earth in some parts, a study said Thursday, in a discovery that has cast doubt on long-held theories about how it was formed.
The moon was long thought to be a dusty, dry place until a few years ago when frozen water was discovered there for the first time.
Now scientists at Case Western Reserve University, Carnegie Institution for Science, and Brown University believe there is 100 times more water deep inside the moon than previously believed.
Scientists studied a sample of the “orange glass soil,” formed during explosive eruptions on the moon 3.7 billion years ago and scooped up by American astronauts during the 1972 Apollo 17 mission, the last to visit the moon.
They used a precision instrument, called the NanoSIMS 50L ion microprobe, to examine lunar melt inclusions, or tiny bits of molten rock.