University of Tennessee researchers say water on the moon is widespread, similar to Earth's.
Last fall, researchers, including Larry Taylor, a distinguished professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences , discovered "lunar dew" on the moon's surface. absorbed water in the uppermost layers of lunar soil. This discovery of water debunked beliefs held since the return of the first Apollo rocks that the moon was bone dry.
Now, scientists including Taylor and Yang Liu, research assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences have discovered that water on the moon is more widespread on both the inside and outside of the moon with some similarities to water in volcanic systems on earth.
Their research was featured in the article "Lunar Apatite With Terrestrial Volatile Abundances" in the July issue of the scientific journal "Nature."
Unlike lunar dew which is believed to come from an outside source such as solar wind which brings hydrogen into contact with the moon's oxygen, the water discovered by Taylor and Liu is internal, arising from an entirely different origin. How it got there is not known. The water may have been added by impacting comets, which contain ice, during or after the formation of the moon and earth.