Solar storms have an effect on the moon
With a lack of atmosphere on the Moon, the lunar satellite has no protection against solar storms, which leads to sparks on the soil which is causing it to melt away.
Experts said that the effect of the soil sparks is similar to that of an asteroid impact.
On Earth, when a solar storm sends particles streaming our way, the planet’s magnetic shield largely deflects the particles.
However, the Moon does not have an atmosphere, so when it is caught in the offshoot of a solar storm, the solar particles rain down on it freely.
How solar energetic particles (SEP) may cause dielectric breakdown in lunar regolith
The solar particles then set in two layers of the Moon – the ions stick to the top layer, known as the regolith, while the electrons seep through to a lower layer.
The ions are positive and the electrons are negative so they balance each other out and flow towards each other.
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The solar storms have the same effects as meteor impacts
As the permanently shadowed regions (PSRs) of the Moon are poor conductors of electricity, during heavy solar storms the electrons and ions meet at the PSRs’ regolith and release a sudden electrical discharge.
Andrew Jordan of the University of New Hampshire said: “About 10 per cent of this gardened layer has been melted or vaporised by meteoroid impacts.
Solar storms send a steam of particles into space
“We found that in the moon's permanently shadowed regions, sparks from solar storms could melt or vaporise a similar percentage.
“Lab experiments show that dielectric breakdown is an explosive process on a tiny scale.
“During breakdown, channels could be melted and vaporised through the grains of soil.
“Some of the grains may even be blown apart by the tiny explosion.”