The Moon is rusting and turning Red, it’s likely Earth’s fault

Red Moon | Image from Pixabay

If there’s one thing we can rely on, it’s that the moon will always be there. Night after night. But our lunar satellite is actually changing, and in stranger ways than we could have ever imagined.

‘The Moon Mineralogy Mapper’ is a device designed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to study the composition of the moon. It’s what’s known as a spectrometer, which is a machine that produces spectral maps; which are maps that show the exact chemical arrangement of any given planet or, in this case, satellite.

The Moon Mapper works because every element on the moon emits a different wavelength of light on the electromagnetic spectrum, so it meticulously records these to provide us with some of the most detailed images we’ve ever seen. In fact, that first detected water on the moon in 2009. In 2020, scientists re-examined some past data from the Moon Minerology Mapper; data that was originally gathered as part of a survey taken twelve years earlier. When the mapper had been installed on Chandrayaan-1, an Indian spacecraft. The scientists from the University of Hawaii discovered something previously thought to be completely impossible. Analysing the lunar poles in particular, they appeared to be going rusty. Specifically, the mapper identified hematite, an iron oxide produced when iron meets water and oxygen, leaving rust. The problem here is that the moon shouldn’t have enough water or oxygen for rust to form.

How did oxygen and water get on the luner surface?

Well, it most likely has a lot to do with our planet, Earth. The most straightforward theory is that for at least 2.5 billion years, Earth’s plants have been pumping out oxygen, and the moon has picked up some of that. We can find proof of this in certain isotopes of oxygen that have now been found on the moon, because they’re isotopes that originate from Earth. The leading idea is that when the moon passes through Earth’s magnetotail, which is the trail the planet leaves behind as it orbits the sun, it’s then subjected to at least a little bit of our world’s oxygen. This happens only for short periods, but regularly. Although it still doesn’t completely solve the mystery. Because, what about the water?

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Sraboni Modak

Sraboni Modak

Interested in Science, Technology and curious about recent activities.

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