A new study has revealed that oxygen ions from as early as 2.4 billion years traveled from Earth’s atmosphere to surface of the moon after researchers analyzed moon rocks and other data provided by satellites.
Scientists have used data from previous studies which analyzed moon rocks in correlation with other measurements taken by Kaguya, the Japanese lunar orbiter. The lunar orbiter was designed to study the surface, gravitational environment, and history of the moon. Thanks to its data, the searchers were able to discover that the moon has several materials which were produced by plant life on Earth, dating back to the period when they first began covering the planet.
More specifically, Kaguya was able to detect dramatic changes in oxygen ions that strike its sensors as well as the moon, from those which are commonly found on Earth. The oxygen ions suffer the changes whey they pass through the planet’s plasma sheet, a region of hot plasma and lower magnetic intensity located in the magnetosphere.
The discovery of oxygen ions on the moon together with the fact that only the plant life on Earth is capable of producing oxygen led the scientists to determine that our natural satellite is being showered with the oxygen.
More precisely, the searchers have found several regions which indicate that the presence of oxygen on the moon originates from Earth, regions where the isotope oxygen-16 can be found. The fact that the Earth is being protected by charged material and solar winds by its magnetosphere while the moon does not have any protection against this type of phenomenon, means that high-energy ions can be found in its soil which should match the isotopic signature of the solar wind.
The upper atmosphere of Earth as little amounts of oxygen-16, while the solar winds and the moon are rich with it. Another aspect that led to the scientists’ conclusion is that the oxygen ions on the moon were found penetrate at same level into the soil as those on Earth, while the ions from solar winds tend to penetrate deeper into the moon’s soil.
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