Social Media Sidebar

Announcement

Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.

 

Thomas Edison

Did the Moon once have life?

RATE THIS! +9
Posted in Science on 24th Jul, 2018 03:17 AM by Alex Muller

Today, the Moon is as dead as you can get, but scientists contend that this might not have been the case billions of years ago. According to Dirk Schulze-Makuch and Ian Crawford from the University of London, there were two periods shortly after the Moon formed when it could have been possible for life to have existed on the lunar surface.

 

The modern Moon is a terrifyingly inhospitable place. Without an atmosphere or a magnetic field, the satellite is subjected to meteorite bombardments, daily swings in temperature from the far subzero to boiling, and blasts of solar and cosmic radiation. It's also so dry that the only water is in the form of ancient ice at the bottom of polar craters and perhaps deep in the lunar mantle. It's a world where, if any life does exist, it's in the form of a few spores brought by American and Soviet lunar missions during the Cold War.

 

But Schulze-Makuch and Crawford claim that things could have been very different four billion years ago when the Moon first formed from a debris disk believed to result from the proto-Earth colliding with a Mars-sized object. As the newborn Moon coalesced, there would have been a lot of water sealed inside it, much as in the early Earth. As it cooled, the Moon would have eventually formed a primitive atmosphere protected by a magnetic field generated by the still-molten core.

 

Under these conditions, water could have existed on the lunar surface under conditions that could support some forms of microbial life. This wouldn't have lasted long, and after a few million years the atmosphere and the water would have been gone. However, five hundred million years later, the Moon's volcanic activities were at their peak, belching billions of tons of gas out to form a second temporary atmosphere and a second watery habitat that would have lasted a few more million years.

 

"It looks very much like the Moon was habitable at this time," says Schulze-Makuch. "There could have actually been microbes thriving in water pools on the Moon until the surface became dry and dead."

 

The question remains, where would such microbes come from in such a brief time? According to Schulze-Makuch, the most likely source is Earth – 3.8 to 3.5 billion years ago, our planet's most advanced known life form was cyanobacteria, which can live without oxygen. This was also a time when the Earth was being constantly bombarded by comets and asteroids. It's entirely possible that some of these bacteria could have been blasted off the Earth and then rode protected inside meteors to eventually rain down on the Moon.

 

At the moment, this is largely theoretical, but Schulze-Makuch says that future lunar missions could seek out samples that might show the presence of not only ancient water, but organic molecules and other biosignatures. He also says that experiments on using simulated lunar environments could test how well life might have survived on the early Moon.


Tags: moonspacescienceresearchastronomylifebiology

Read original article » Back to category

Comments



 

Recent headlines

  • Posted in Software on 2018-10-19 11:09:41
    Idx raises $33 million for AI that detects eye disease.....read more
    Posted in Software on 2018-10-19 11:07:05
    University of Florida’s AI finds early lung cancer with.....read more
    Posted in Science on 2018-10-19 11:02:34
    Lunar landscape testing ground to be built in Germany..read more
    Posted in Hardware on 2018-10-18 18:16:43
    Swedish company Ovzon is the fourth client for SpaceX.....read more
    Posted in Medicine on 2018-10-18 17:52:40
    Enzyme to help smokers quit by eliminating nicotine in.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 Downloads..read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into new.....read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs,.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short Sighted..read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, but.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria..read more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Even light drinking increases risk of death..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Researchers have discovered how to slow aging..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Human retinas grown in a dish explain how color vision develops..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    The smartphone app that can tell you’re depressed before you.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Neural networks don’t understand what optical illusions are..read more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Username:
Password:
Remember me
or

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Username:
Email:
Password:
Verify password:
Remember me