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How the Earth Sends Oxygen to the Moon

Science By
Scenic View Of Full Moon At Night
(Getty Images)

 

The Earth is sending the moon oxygen. No, this is not the result of an experimental space program. Indeed, it predates humanity entirely—and it’s estimated to have been going on for over two billion years. How does it happen? Every day, a small amount of our precious air leaks into space. For most of the month, this doesn’t impact the moon, which is too busy dealing with a solar wind that bombards it with particles from the sun.

However, for five days a month, the moon is protected by the Earth’s magnetosphere. This magnetic field shields it from the sun’s particles, allowing particles from Earth to reach it. These particles may even become embedded in the lunar soil, bringing oxygen to the moon. This leads to the question: Is the Earth gradually making the moon livable for humans?

Answer: Oh heavens no. While we once believed the moon had no atmosphere and no water to go along with its complete absence of oxygen, we now know all three things are present. However, they are present in such small quantities that they don’t compensate for that solar bombardment happening 25 days a month, ensuring the moon will remain for the moment a nice (if expensive) place to visit, but not somewhere you’d want to settle down.

To read more about the oxygen we send the moon, click here.

RealClearLife Staff