Electrons From Earth May Be Forming Lunar Water

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Scientists from the University of Hawai‘i found that Earth’s plasma sheet electrons affect the Moon’s weathering and may help form water. The discovery deepens our understanding of the Earth-Moon relationship and points to future exploration opportunities. A team of researchers, led by a Universi Water content map on the surface of the Moon. Credit: Li, et al.

, 2023 plasma A team of researchers, led by a University of Hawai‘i (UH) at Mānoa planetary scientist, discovered that high energy electrons in Earth’s plasma sheet are contributing to weathering processes on the Moon’s surface and, importantly, the electrons may have aided the formation of water on the lunar surface. The study was published on September 14 in the journal

. . Due to Earth’s magnetism, there is a force field surrounding the planet, referred to as the magnetosphere, that protects Earth from space weathering and damaging radiation from the Sun. The solar wind pushes the magnetosphere and reshapes it, making a long tail on the night side. The plasma sheet within this magnetotail is a region consisting of high-energy electrons and ions that may be sourced from Earth and the solar wind.

Graphic showing the magnetosphere and plasma sheet. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Aaron Kaase Building on his previous work that showed

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