'Moon may have as much water as earth has'

Scientists have recently discovered water in moon, which was long thought to be a dusty and dry place, after examining lunar rocks brought to Earth in 1972 by the final manned mission to the moon, Apollo 17.

Now, researchers from Case Western Reserve University who analysed the volcanic samples of the ancient lunar crust believe there could be 100 times more water than previously thought, the Daily Mail reported.

In fact, the measured quantities, could be as high as the water contained in the Earth's upper mantle -- the viscous layer of semi-molten rock that lies just beneath this planet's crust, the scientists said.
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If this is the case, it challenges a long-held theory about the moon's formation. Most experts believe a huge impact early in Earth's history ejected material into space that became the moon.

But the force involved should have vaporised much of the future moon's water. Finding large amounts of water in the moon's interior casts doubt on this idea, the scientists reported in the journal Science.

Professor James van Orman, who led the research, said: "These samples provide the best window we have to the amount of water in the interior of the moon.

"The interior seems to be pretty similar to the interior of the Earth, from what we know about water abundance."

The orange-coloured beads came from deep within the lunar interior during volcanic eruptions long ago when the moon was still geologically active.

Several space missions have detected water ice in craters at the lunar poles.

Scientists had assumed the water was carried there by meteor impacts. But the new research suggests some of it may also have been thrown up by volcanic eruptions.

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