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Fragments of moon rock brought back from the lunar surface by astronauts on the Apollo space missions are providing new insights about where our planet's life-giving water came from.
The next time you take a sip of water, take a moment to consider where it has come from. It may have travelled from a local reservoir to your tap, while bottled water can come from springs in another country entirely.
Research - Water - Life - Earth - Origins
But new research suggests the water we drink and depend upon to sustain life here on Earth may have its origins in a far more distant place – outer space.
New analysis of moon rock fragments brought back by Apollo astronauts in the 1960s and 1970s suggests much of the water on our planet was carried here by asteroids and comets that collided with the Earth shortly after it formed 4.54 billion years ago.
Research - Techniques - Composition - Chemical - Traces
The research, which uses modern techniques to look at the composition of chemical traces in the rocks, is also providing new evidence to support theories about how the Moon itself formed and how the traces of water found on its surface got there.
"The moon is like a time capsule," said Professor Frédéric Moynier, a cosmochemist at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, in France. "Its rocks are far older than anything we can find here on Earth, so they hold a lot of valuable information."
Activity - Movement - Plates - Rocks - Earth
Volcanic activity and the continuous movement of tectonic plates have destroyed all of the oldest rocks here on Earth. The oldest to be found here, found in a few locations like Greenland, are just 3.8 billion years old.
The moon's rocks, however, have remained largely unchanged since it formed 4.51 billion years ago. Hidden inside the minerals in the rocks are tiny quantities of chemicals such as zinc, potassium, copper, chromium and even water, which...
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