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Kuzmin Vladimir Kuzmin Vladimir Feb 8, 2021

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Data from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has revealed that the Earth’s natural satellite Moon might be rusting. The new research suggests that the moon is turning slightly red, indicating the formation of a reddish-black mineral form of iron named hematite on its surface, particularly at the poles.

The formation of rust or iron oxide can be attributed to the presence of two key elements—water and oxygen—when they come in contact with iron. The lunar surface is littered with iron-rich rocks, which may facilitate this chemical reaction when combined with the other two elements. However, the Moon does not have any rich source of water and is devoid of oxygen in its atmosphere.

"It's very puzzling," said Shuai Li from the University of Hawaii, who is the lead author of the study. "The Moon is a terrible environment for hematite to form in." So, what triggered such a chemical reaction over the moon? Scientists say that the main reason behind this change could be the Earth’s atmosphere.

Researchers noticed this phenomenon on the Moon while examining data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument onboard ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. The data obtained from the M3 revealed the Moon's pole had a different composition as compared to its surface.

Tortora Federica Tortora Federica
Feb 8, 2021
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