ISRO's Chandrayaan-1 Orbiter's Data Shows Moon Is Rusting Without Water, Oxygen

 - Sakshi Post

The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite and is the closet cosmic neighbour. It is the only other body in the Solar System on which human beings have set foot. We know that there is no air and liquid on the Moon. The scientists have discovered haematite on the surface of the moon. The haematite has been discovered in data brought back by ISRO's Chandrayaan-1 orbiter.

The discovery of haematite on the Moon puzzled the scientists, since haematite is an oxidised type of iron that requires the presence of both air and water here on Earth.

Especially because the Moon is constantly bombarded by a stream of hydrogen from the solar wind. Hydrogen acts as a reducing agent which donates its electrons to the materials with which it interacts. Oxidization happens due to the loss of electrons. So, even though all the right elements for oxidisation were present, the solar wind could cancel it out.

Although the surface of the Moon is full of iron-rich minerals, Shuai Li, the main author at the University of Hawaii who was researching ice deposits around the lunar pole, did not expect to find rust on the Moon. He said that, "It is very puzzling. The Moon is a terrible environment for hematite to form in.”

Li said that, "When I examined the M3 data at the polar regions, I found some spectral features and patterns are different from those we see at the lower latitudes or the Apollo samples."

He further added that, "I was curious whether it is possible that there are water-rock reactions on the Moon. After months of investigation, I figured out I was seeing the signature of haematite."

Designed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) uses hyperspectral imaging to perform a granular spectroscopic analysis, giving a detailed breakdown of the Moon's mineral surface composition.

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