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October 16 2012

Water on the moon? Maybe a lot more than we thought ... thanks to the sun.

The moon's top layer of crushed rock and soil may hold far more water than previously estimated, according to a new study.

Most of that water can trace its origin to protons streaming from the sun, the researchers show, confirming in samples of lunar soil a mechanism for making lunar water that until now largely had been the province of theoretical models.

The find "represents an unanticipated, abundant reservoir" of water on the moon, according to researchers from three US universities, who formally reported their results Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience. And it could help explain the presence of water on other airless planets and asteroids in the inner solar system.

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