Beijing, 3 Mar (ZXS) -- Where is the water on the moon hidden? The latest research by Chinese scientists, based on lunar soil samples collected back to Earth by Chang'e-28, found that the molten material from the impact splashed by the moon cooled and formed and scattered in glass beads on the lunar surface, possibly storing a large amount of water. The results suggest that the lunar soil contains more solar wind-induced water than previously thought.

This important achievement paper of lunar research, completed by co-corresponding author, researcher Hu Sen of the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Professor Hui Hejiu and collaborators of the School of Earth Sciences and Engineering of Nanjing University, was published online in Springer Nature's professional academic journal Nature - Earth Science, Beijing time on the night of March 3.

Scientists point out that although the moon was once thought to be dry, analysis of samples collected by the American Apollo mission revealed that the minerals inside the moon contained water, and that the orbiter also detected the presence of water on the lunar surface. Researchers believe that the solar wind's interaction with lunar surface material may produce water and maintain the water cycle on the lunar surface. However, the "reservoir" on the lunar surface has not been identified before.

In this study, Hu Sen, Hui Hejiu and others analyzed the water content of glass beads formed during the impact from Chang'e-5 lunar soil samples, and they confirmed that there was water stored in the impact glass beads, and these waters were consistent with the origin of the solar wind. At the same time, the Chang'e-5 lunar soil study also found that the distribution of water in the glass beads alone also suggests that this water can quickly accumulate in the glass beads through diffusion, the time scale is only a few years, and the heat will be released quickly. They believe that this represents an efficient water replenishment mechanism on the lunar surface that drives an active water cycle.

Hu Sen, Hui Hejiu and other authors concluded that the water in the impact glass beads on the moon may be used as a potential water source for easier mining and future lunar exploration missions. In addition, impact glass on other non-atmospheric objects may contain similar "reservoirs".

They revealed that on the basis of the discovery of the lunar "reservoir", the distribution of water in the impact glass beads returned by Chang'e-5 will be further studied to accurately determine the distribution and evolution of water, and provide scientific evidence for the effective use of lunar surface water. (End)