Could aliens be on the moon?
Scientists had long given up on finding alien life on our Moon due to its barren, dusty state – but the discovery that there is some oxygen could reopen the investigation.
On Earth, oxygen is, along with water, one of the key ingredients to life.
Researchers have now discovered that during a five-day period of each month, the Moon is showered with oxygen ions from Earth.
During a short period of each month, the Moon passes through the Earth’s magnetosphere – the magnetic shield which protects us from radiation, something that the Moon does not have.
Solar flares release particles that stream out into space
When it does, the lunar satellite is protected from the solar winds and is instead littered with material from Earth’s atmosphere – most significantly oxygen.
Astrophysicist Kentaro Terada from Osaka University in Japan told EOS: "Our new finding suggests that the Earth-Moon system coevolves not only physically but also chemically.”
The Moon is showered with oxygen ions from Earth
The research from Terado and could go towards explaining the Moon’s rocks chemical composition.
When scientists analysed lunar rocks in 2006, they found that oxygen levels did not match up to what they should be for a celestial body with no atmosphere and no signs of life.
The Earth's magnetic shield protects us from solar storms
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However, the discovery that it picks up oxygen ions from Earth goes towards explaining the imbalance.
Terada told the Atlantic: "[Earth's] upper atmosphere consists of oxygen ions that are easily picked up by the solar wind and transported to the Moon.
"Maybe some portion is implanted on the Moon, and some portion is lost into interplanetary space."