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Moon May Have Harboured Life 4 Billion Years Ago, Research Suggests

Life on the Moon could have originated much as it did on Earth but the more likely scenario is that it would have been brought in by a meteorite, according to Schulze-Makuch

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The researcher's work draws on results from recent space missions and sensitive analyses of lunar rock and soil samples that show the Moon is not as dry as previously thought. Pixabay
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While the Moon is presently unsuitable for habitation, there could have been life on its surface about four billion years ago, researchers have suggested.

There may have been actually two early windows of habitability for Earth’s Moon, according to the study published in the journal Astrobiology.

According to the researchers, conditions on the lunar surface were sufficient to support simple lifeforms shortly after the Moon formed from a debris disk four billion years ago and again during a peak in lunar volcanic activity around 3.5 billion years ago.

During both periods, the Moon was spewing out large quantities of superheated volatile gases, including water vapour, from its interior, according to the researchers.

The researchers said that this outgassing could have formed pools of liquid water on the lunar surface and an atmosphere dense enough to keep it there for millions of years.

“If liquid water and a significant atmosphere were present on the early Moon for long periods of time, we think the lunar surface would have been at least transiently habitable,” said study co-author Dirk Schulze-Makuch from the Washington State University in the US.

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While the Moon is presently unsuitable for habitation, there could have been life on its surface about four billion years ago, researchers have suggested. Pixabay

The researcher’s work draws on results from recent space missions and sensitive analyses of lunar rock and soil samples that show the Moon is not as dry as previously thought.

Life on the Moon could have originated much as it did on Earth but the more likely scenario is that it would have been brought in by a meteorite, according to Schulze-Makuch.

The earliest evidence for life on Earth comes from fossilised cyanobacteria that are between 3.5 and 3.8 billion years old.

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During this time, the solar system was dominated by frequent and giant meteorite impacts. It is possible that meteorites containing simple organisms like cyanobacteria could have been blasted off the surface of the Earth and landed on the Moon.

“It looks very much like the Moon was habitable at this time,” Schulze-Makuch said.

“There could have actually been microbes thriving in water pools on the Moon until the surface became dry and dead,” Schulze-Makuch added. (IANS)

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China Launches Space Mission To The Unexplored Side of The Moon

If successful, the mission would propel the Chinese space program to a leading position in one of the most important areas of lunar exploration. 

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A moon is seen behind the construction site of China Zun in Beijing's central business area. VOA

China launched a groundbreaking mission Saturday to land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon, demonstrating its growing ambitions as a space power to rival Russia, the European Union and the U.S.

A Long March 3B rocket carrying a lunar probe blasted off at 2:23 a.m. from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province in southwestern China, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

With its Chang’e 4 mission, China hopes to be the first country to make a soft landing, which is a landing of a spacecraft during which no serious damage is incurred. The moon’s far side is also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown. It has a different composition than sites on the near side, where previous missions have landed.

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A worker inspects a scale model of the moon rover for China’s Chang’e 4 lunar probe, at a factory in Dongguan, Guangdong province, China. VOA

If successful, the mission would propel the Chinese space program to a leading position in one of the most important areas of lunar exploration.

China landed its Yutu, or “Jade Rabbit,” rover on the moon five years ago and plans to send its Chang’e 5 probe there next year and have it return to Earth with samples — the first time that will have been done since 1976. A crewed lunar mission is also under consideration.

China launched a groundbreaking mission Saturday to land a spacecraft on the largely unexplored far side of the moon, demonstrating its growing ambitions as a space power to rival Russia, the European Union and the U.S.

A Long March 3B rocket carrying a lunar probe blasted off at 2:23 a.m. from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province in southwestern China, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

cHINA, MOON
Back side of the moon

With its Chang’e 4 mission, China hopes to be the first country to make a soft landing, which is a landing of a spacecraft during which no serious damage is incurred. The moon’s far side is also known as the dark side because it faces away from Earth and remains comparatively unknown. It has a different composition than sites on the near side, where previous missions have landed.

Also Read: China Starts Investigation After Scientists Claims To Edit Genes In Babies

If successful, the mission would propel the Chinese space program to a leading position in one of the most important areas of lunar exploration.

China landed its Yutu, or “Jade Rabbit,” rover on the moon five years ago and plans to send its Chang’e 5 probe there next year and have it return to Earth with samples — the first time that will have been done since 1976. A crewed lunar mission is also under consideration. (VOA)