During a full moon, the earth blows her a kiss of life – life giving oxygen
Scientists have long wondered how the Moon’s surface came to contain oxygen traces. Japanese astrophysicist, Kentaro Terada, explained how the Earth has been “contaminating” the Moon. Until now scientists assumed it was from solar winds.
Japan launched the SELENE lunar orbiter called Kaguya in September 2007 to research the moon. SELENE stands for SELenological and Engineering Explorer.
The intention of the Japanese was to research the origin and evolution of the Moon. The spent a year and 8 months doing research, – what they discovered astounded them.
The orbiter sensors picked up high energy oxygen ions. This occurred when the Moon and Kaguya were simultaneously within the Earth’s plasma sheet. And also only during the 5 days that the Moon passed through the magnetosphere. This suggests that the Moon and the Earth coexist and co-evolve in ways we have not understood before.
We are already aware of how the Moon affects the tides on Earth. It also is the reason our planet has a steady rotation. We now know the Moon it contains bio-generated oxygen from Earth. However, it is impossible for the Moon to create life.
This means that for billions of years the Earth has been bombarding the Moon with, essentially, our bio-waste. The surface of the Moon contains deep layers of the Earth’s history. It has been preserving this since the Earth began producing photosynthesis.
It was in April 2008 that Kaguya made its remarkable discovery. When the Moon passed through the plasma sheet, the orbiter would spend between 10 minutes to an hour a day there also. It became apparent that the Moon receives 26,000 oxygen ions per second during the 5-day window. This is despite it being approximately 240,000 miles from the Earth. It immediately ceases once the Moon exits the plasma sheet.
What is the Earth’s magnetosphere?
Around the Earth, and all astronomical objects is a zone that surrounds it. It pulls in any object that enters it, that contain charged particles. The magnetosphere protects us from dangerous solar winds. It also prevents average sized space rocks from entering. Any that don’t burn up on impact will break down and disintegrate.
On the dayside of the magnetosphere of the Earth, the solar winds compress it. However, on the night side, the magnetosphere extends to a “magnetotail”. It is within this tear-drop shaped tail that the Moon becomes a part of the Earths magnetosphere once a month. The Moon has a 27-day orbit altogether.
Is the Earth leaking oxygen?
This may concern some people who hear that our oxygen can reach the Moon. Does this mean it is escaping into space, like a hole in a ball?
There is not enough oxygen escaping. It is only estimated to be 90 metric tons. The Earth’s atmosphere contains 5 quadrillion metric tons.
The oxygen escapes when it is at the top of the atmosphere. Because it is highly charged, it speeds up in the magnetic field. This is where it forms the tear-drop shape called the magnetosphere. When the Moon is not orbiting there, the oxygen particles dissipate into space.
Further research to uncover more earth and moon facts
It is difficult to study the lunar surface for evidence of Earth’s history. This is because it is near impossible to differentiate between the oxygen particles derived from the Earth and the solar winds. But as technology advances, this discovery does open up a window of opportunity.
The journey of Kaguya came to an end in June 2009, when it crashed into the Lunar surface, near the Gill crater.