The Moon has been receiving oxygen atoms from our planet since the first plants appeared on Earth. Based on the data provided by a Japanese lunar orbiter, the moon may have received oxygen produced by plants on Earth. A team of scientists led by Kentaro Terada of Osaka University has analyzed the information from the Selenological and Engineering Explorer.
Researchers revealed that the lunar soil indicated that it hosted a particular type of oxygen isotope. This isotope occurs on our planet. Approximately all the oxygen from the atmosphere of Terra for the last 2.5 billion years was obtained through photosynthesis. Thus, researchers conclude that the rocks on the moon have absorbed small amounts of oxygen from the plants on Earth which emitted it.
Experts have argued that the moon is somehow contaminated with oxygen atoms. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has launched the Selenological and Engineering Explorer (Kaguya) back in 2007. The craft has accomplished its mission, and back in 2009, it landed on the moon. The purpose of the mission was to analyze the moon, examining its local gravitational environment and its surface.
The Ion Mass Analyzer (IMA) and the Ion Energy Analyzer (IEA) have measured the ions coming from the magnetosphere of our planet comparing them with the atoms from the Moon. Thus, scientists established that the moon experiences the effects of two different types of environments. During its orbit around Earth, the natural satellite gets exposed to the solar wind, capturing ions from there. Nevertheless, when it is no longer in the view of the sun, the Moon is affected by the magnetic field of our planet which stretches out into the cosmos, away from the star.
Thus, charged particles from our planet are delivered towards the Moon, reaching its surface. The oxygen atoms escape the Earth’s atmosphere because these atoms lose an electron, becoming charged when sunlight contacts the atoms of oxygen at the edge of cosmos. The magnetic field of our planet engulfs the resulting ions while some of them escape and are delivered into space, reaching the surface of our natural satellite.
The ions found on the moon were analyzed, and scientists established that they came from the isotope oxygen-16. The upper atmosphere of our planet and the moon carry light oxygen-16, while the solar winds carry a lot more.
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