We all know there’s no air to breathe on the Moon, but new evidence suggests the lunar surface is continually showered with Earth’s oxygen. And it has been for billions of years. This explains the oxygen levels detected in lunar rocks in 2006 by the Japanese lunar mission SELENE.
What if the relationship between the Earth and its satellite was not just a matter of tides after all? A team of Japanese researchers announces that they have found the first possible traces of terrestrial life on the Moon during the study of data collected by the Japanese lunar mission SELENE in orbit of the Earth satellite. In particular, the researchers discovered that oxygen ions from the Earth’s atmosphere are transported to the Moon. The atmosphere thus “bombards” the Moon with a large quantity of oxygen each time our planet eclipses the Moon from the Sun.
For more or less 2.4 billion years, no less than four billion billion billion oxygen atoms (about 106 million tons of oxygen) have therefore been integrated into lunar rocks. The Moon « breathes » in this way about five days a month since this exchange of oxygen would only take place during a small window out of the 27 days that make up a complete orbit of the Moon. Most of the time, the satellite is bombarded with solar wind, fast-moving, particle-laden currents emanating from the sun. But during these five days, the Moon passes through the Earth’s magnetosphere, the part of the magnetic field that stretches away from the Sun. The Moon is then protected from the solar wind, which allows oxygen ions to travel from Earth to the Moon.
Thus the dead and hostile star is sprinkled with the signature of life. In our atmosphere, most of the oxygen is created by plants through photosynthesis. » The Earth-Moon system coexists not only physically, but also chemically. Biologically-derived oxygen has invaded the surface of the Moon for billions of years says Kentaro Terada, an astrophysicist at Osaka University, who also suspects that information about our planet’s ancient atmosphere may be preserved on the surface of the lunar soil.