A lunar meteorite that was discovered in Africa 13 years ago has been found to contain a mineral that is only formed in the presence of water, hinting that there may be water on the surface of the moon.

Older samples of rocks from the moon do not contain any presence of water.

Water On The Moon

In a new study published in Science Advances, scientists discovered moganite in the lunar meteorite. Moganite forms in the presence of water, which suggests that there may be frozen water on the surface of the moon.

The team was led by Masahiro Kayama from Tohoku University. They were able to take a sample of the meteorite NWA2727.

NWA2727 is the only lunar meteorite in which moganite was found by the researchers. Moganite, which looks like crystal, is found in the cracks and fractures of rocks. It appears due to brecciation, a process that creates a mass of rocks created from older rocks. Brecciation only occurs in the presence of water.

Researchers propose that the water on the moon could have been delivered through asteroids and comets three billion years ago. During this period, liquid water existed on the surface of the moon. It became trapped after it was soaked into the surface and then cooled. Another asteroid or comet struck the moon and sent those water-soaked rocks into space and towards Earth.

Future Moon Missions

Scientists were able to determine that the moganite didn't form on Earth because of terrestrial weathering. The lunar meteorite was found in the desert which lacks water. Due to the small sample of moganite found on the meteorite, researchers say that further moon missions are required to retrieve more samples with moganite.

Speaking to Gizmodo, lunar geologist Noah Petro states that lunar rock samples from the Apollo missions should be studied using modern techniques to test for the presence of moganite. Petro says that the discovery of moganite on the lunar meteorite shows that scientists still have a limited understanding about the surface of the moon.

Moganite's presence in moon rocks just creates more questions than answers regarding water on the moon. It still isn't known how much ice exists on the surface of the moon or where to look for ice on the surface of the moon. Even if the water is found, researchers have no idea how they would be able to extract that water from the surface.

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