The moon emits carbon ions, and this could lead to a rethinking of theories about its formation

Researchers believed that no carbon ions or other volatile elements should be found on the moon.

A decade ago, the Kaguya spacecraft, Selenological and Engineering Explorer, launched by the Japan Space Agency, spent a year in the moon’s orbit making a series of observations about it. The data collected suggests that the Earth’s natural satellite emits jets of carbon ions from its entire surface, the researchers note in a study cited by Science Alert.

This observation contradicts previous theories that suggested that there should be no more carbon ions or other volatile substances, elements, and low-boiling chemicals on the moon.

“These emissions were distributed over almost the entire lunar surface, but the quantities were different from the monthly geographical areas,” the scientists wrote.

“Our estimates show that native carbon exists all over the moon, supporting the hypothesis of a carbon-containing moon; its carbon was incorporated into its formation and / or was transported billions of years ago “, they note.

Scientists explain that these findings have an impact on the way the formation of the Moon is theorized, because the collision between Earth and Theia would have generated temperatures high enough to evaporate all volatile elements and compounds. At this point, scientists are faced with two possible options: either the temperatures resulting from the collision were lower than previously estimated, or they must rethink the entire model of the Moon’s formation.

“It would be useful to further evaluate the initial quantities of volatiles on the Moon, for example, future isotopic analyzes of carbon ion emissions from the lunar surface, to provide a quantitative estimate of the mass balance of indigenous carbon, solar wind and of micrometeorites “, the researchers add.

The study was published in Science Advances.

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