A new study, supported by NASA, shows that 3,000-4,000 years ago, the Moon had an atmosphere around it thanks to intense volcanic eruptions that expelled gases on the surface, faster than they could escape into space.
It appears that this new research leads to a drastic change in our view of what the Moon looked like, says David Kring, a co-author of the work. And it is that when the Moon had such an atmosphere, it was almost 3 times closer to the Earth than it is today and would have appeared almost 3 times larger in the sky. The show had to be great (can you imagine a supermoon at this time?).
One of the study's authors, David Kring, notes: "This work drastically changes our view of the Moon from a rocky body without air, to one that used to be surrounded by a thicker atmosphere than the one that surrounds Mars today."
When the natural satellite had that atmosphere, it was almost three times closer to Earth than it is today and would have appeared in the sky almost three times larger.
What does this find mean
It has a great implication for future exploration, since the analysis carried out by the scientists quantifies an important source of volatile compounds that can remain trapped in the coldest regions of the Moon. These compounds could provide an interesting source of ice for an ongoing lunar exploration program.
The volcanic material is rich in resources that could be used to make water and fuel to support a lunar outpost.
The closest celestial body within our reach, the only extraterrestrial world in which the human species has walked, the Moon, had an atmosphere that for years has gone unnoticed before our eyes. Traveling to the Moon becomes more and more feasible.
Reference: Debra H. Needham et al.Lunar volcanism produced a transient atmosphere around the ancient Moon, Earth and Planetary Science Letters (2017).DOI: 10.1016 / j.epsl.2017.09.002
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