Significant amounts of water in lunar rocks cast into doubt the popular impact theory for the origin of the moon.
The lunar highlands are thought to represent the original crust, crystallized from a magma ocean on a mostly molten early moon. The new findings indicate that the early moon was wet and that water there was not substantially lost during the moon’s formation.
The results seem to contradict the predominant lunar formation theory — that the moon was formed from debris generated during a giant impact between Earth and another planetary body, approximately the size of Mars, according to U-M’s Youxue Zhang and his colleagues.
Zhang explained that an impact would have formed a dry moon – all the volatiles would have been lost by degassing immediately. “That is somewhat difficult to explain with the current popular moon-formation model, in which the moon formed by collecting the hot ejecta as the result of a super-giant impact of a martian-size body with the proto-Earth,” he said.
The evidence of water is in anorthosites, a mineral found in the lunar highlands – thought to be the oldest rocks on the moon – indicating the water was there when the moon formed. It’s not liquid water; it’s in the form of hydroxyl ions (OH-). But it’s water nonetheless: The paper in Nature Geoscience states flatly, “Here we show that this primary crust of the Moon contains significant amounts of water.”
The latest study adds to increasing evidence of water on the moon: “Over the last five years, spacecraft observations and new lab measurements of Apollo lunar samples have overturned the long-held belief that the moon is bone-dry.” Those observations are discussed in the article.
The hydroxyl groups the team detected are evidence that the lunar interior contained significant water during the moon’s early molten state, before the crust solidified, and may have played a key role in the development of lunar basalts. “The presence of water,” said [Hejiu]Hui [U of Notre Dame], “could imply a more prolonged solidification of the lunar magma ocean than the once-popular anhydrous moon scenario suggests.”
One of the rocks examined was the so-called “Genesis Rock” from Apollo 15, so named because “the astronauts thought they had a piece of the moon’s primordial crust.” Christian astronaut James Irwin was one of the discoverers of that rock.
Well, like the last three moon-origin scenarios that have been falsified (see article by Don DeYoung), this one was fun while it lasted. It worked on the computer. It gave the animators something to do. What we need now is a documentary to debunk the past documentaries that promoted the impact hypotheses, and for the publishers of those other documentaries to put a disclaimer on them, advising: “Warning: this documentary is probably wrong.”
Would that this Genesis Rock story, 43 years after Apollo 15, that now falsifies a long-held belief of secular scientists who weren’t there when the moon formed, would encourage people to read Genesis like the Apollo 8 astronauts did, and then read about building one’s house [i.e., worldview] on the Rock (a parable told by Someone who was there, and who held Genesis to be authoritative).