Earth's Oxygen Atoms Bombard The Moon Billions Of Years Ago

Posted: Jan 31 2017, 4:57am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Earth's Oxygen Atoms Bombard the Moon Billions of Years Ago
Oxygen atoms escape from the upper atmosphere into Earth’s magnetosphere (blue lines), researchers propose. For five days each lunar cycle, the moon passes through the magnetosphere and is bombarded by oxygen (green haze). Credit: OSAKA UNIVERSITY, NASA
  • Moon attacked by oxygen atoms from the earth

Scientists say that earth’s life may have affected moon several billions years ago when Neil Armstrong went to moon.

Recently, Japan’s moon-orbiting Kaguya spacecraft found that there are high energy oxygen atoms above earth’s surface that attack the surface of moon every month for few days.

The agency also said that this oxygen developed on earth 2.4 billion years ago when photosynthetic microbes were first discovered. The scientists including planetary scientist Kentaro Terada of Osaka University in Japan and colleagues published the discovery in Nature Astronomy on Jan 30.

These oxygen atoms were ionized by ultraviolet rays after they started their journey in the upper atmosphere of earth, stated by the researchers. The electric filed around the atmosphere containing plasma waves accelerate the ions into magnetic cocoon that surrounds the earth.

The magnetosphere moves away from the sun from one side just like flag stands in the wind. According to NASA scientists in five days of each lunar cycle the moon enters the magnetosphere and is bombarded with ions with oxygen.

The team from Osaka University included Kentaro Terada who led the team and observed data from Selenological and Engineering Explorer. Their findings appear in the January 30th issue of the journal Nature Astronomy.

The oxygen that travels in space was first measured in 2008 by Kaguya. The team including Terada and colleagues found that around 26000 oxygen ions per second attacked every square centimeter of the lunar surface during their five days travel.

The upper surface of lunar soil has some part of the ancient earth, but the researchers say that they are not yet sure which oxygen atoms caused the events; those which emerged from earth or those emerged from the sun.

Scientists want to study the events more to understand them precisely. So, more researches would be required in future by space scientists.

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