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New look at Apollo moon rocks reveals signs of "native" water

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A new analysis of moon rocks brought back by Apollo missions in the 1970s finds signs of 'native' water, challenging theories that any water on the moon was left by asteroids or comets.
(image by NASA)

The samples should have been bone-dry, Hui said, but 'somehow we still detect this amount of water, so that makes things interesting.' Based on their measurements, the researchers estimated that the early moon's magma ocean could have contained up to 320 parts per million of water. Once that ocean mostly crystallized, the remaining residues could have had as much as 1.4% water. That could explain the measured water content in lunar rocks, Hui said.The findings could have interesting implications for theories about how the moon came to be. The findings also have implications for the moon's geological evolution; scientists may need to reevaluate some of those ideas. Knowing how much water there is could be handy for future explorers. 'Someday, when we put men on the moon in a more permanent way, we might need that water.'

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