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October 15 2012

Solar wind brought water to the moon


The water found locked inside soil on the moon's surface derives from hydrogen in the solar wind - meaning there could be water on other apparently-dry bodies in the solar system too.

Over the last few years, scientists have realized that the moon isn't as dry as thought, with NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing satellite, LCROSS, finding material that was surprisingly rich in water ice in a permanently shadowed lunar crater in 2009.

Water and related compounds have also been detected in the lunar regolith, the layer of fine powder and rock fragments that coats the lunar surface. Where it came from, though, remained a mystery, with many scientists suggesting that it derived from water-bearing comets and other chunks of space debris.

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