A team of researchers that was working in affiliation with several other Japan based institutes recently examined the data sent from Kaguya spacecraft, the Japanese moon-orbiting spacecraft and discovered a solid evidence of oxygen finding its way to the moon surface from Earth’s atmosphere. And the best part is, it takes place for a few days on a monthly basis. Scientists were already well-aware of the fact that moon gets bombarded with particles from solar winds on a consistent basis once in every month. Since, earth falls between sun and moon, the moon is shielded from solarwinds. In this new effort that was made by the team they were able to give a solid proof of transportation of oxygen ions from outer atmosphere of earth to moon’s surface during this short time.
The previous researches demonstrated that oxygen atoms get ionized in the upper atmosphere of Earth whenever these are struck with ultraviolet rays. At times, this imparts them with a much greater pace leading them to break away from Earth’s atmosphere and travel to magnetosphere, a layer that surrounds our planet and is extended opposite to Sun’s direction like a flag under the effect of solarwinds. It moves up to such long distance that it covers the moon for five days every month leading to bombardment of ions over Moon’s surface. The data received from Kaguya suggests that some of these ions are of oxygen, the researchers calculated that approx. 26, 000 oxygen ions hit per centimeter square of the Moon every second during these five days.
As moon gets protection from solar wind due to earth, the researchers are confident that these ions travel from earth and not the solar winds. Another evidence that supports this credence is the fact that the ions that were travelling towards moon had much slower pace as compared to the one held by ion moving in solar winds. And final evidence that supports this research is that, a few prior researches found samples of lunar soil with some degree of oxygen-17 and oxygen-18 isotopes that are not present in space normally.
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