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Water on the moon? Native water found in lunar rocks

Water has been detected in rock samples from the moon, complicating old theories.

Apollo 11 moon mission 1Enlarge
With a half-Earth in the background, the Lunar Module ascent stage with Moon-walking Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. approaches for a rendezvous with the Apollo Command Module manned by Michael Collins. (NASA/Newsmakers/Courtesy)

The moon may have once had a watery landscape, a new study has found, turning older theories about the moon upside down.

The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, contradicts the predominant theory that the moon was formed from debris generated during a giant impact between earth and another planet, researchers announced in a press release.  

"It's thought that the moon's formation involved the materials getting very hot," Paul Warren, a UCLA cosmochemist who was not involved in the new study, told the Los Angeles Times. "It's usually assumed that little water would have survived through that."

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This isn't the first study to challenge traditional theories about a water-free moon, however. In fact, the body of evidence suggesting native moon water has grown over the past five years.

In 2008, bubbles of water were detected in lunar magma formed three billion years ago and collected in the 1970s, Wired reported. In 2011, those rock samples were revisited, and it was discovered that their water quantities were roughly the same as Earth's.

Still, most studies have found moon rocks to be very dry, Space.com reported. But the instruments used to test samples in prior decades were not as sensitive as they are today. 

 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/technology/130219/water-the-moon-native-water-found-lunar-rocks