Scientists from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa believe that part of the water discovered on the Moon may have been generated by the influence of high-energy electrons present in Earth’s magnetic tail interacting with the lunar surface. While this region of charged particles shields the Moon from solar wind, it also exposes it to radiation that could be responsible for the formation of lunar water.

This discovery complements a previous study that determined that oxygen in Earth’s magnetic tail is oxidizing iron in the polar regions of the Moon. Remote sensing observations show that water formation through the magnetic tail is similar to that generated by solar wind, suggesting that there could be additional water formation processes or new sources not directly related to solar wind.

According to the scientists, the side of the Moon closest to Earth spends about 27% of its daylight time affected by Earth’s magnetic tail, during which the flow of solar wind disappears almost completely. Despite these long periods without solar wind impact, no decrease in surface water content has been observed on the near side of the Moon.

This study expands our knowledge of the origin of water on the Moon and highlights the importance of investigating the interactions between Earth and its natural satellite. Scientists continue to conduct research in order to better understand the processes involved in the formation and distribution of water on the Moon.

– Study from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa published in Nature Astronomy.