Water Released from Moon During Meteor Showers

  • Released Monday, April 15, 2019
  • Updated Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 3:49PM
  • ID: 13078

Scientists have discovered that water is being released from the Moon during meteor showers. When a speck of comet debris strikes the Moon it vaporizes on impact, creating a shock wave in the lunar soil. For a sufficiently large impactor, this shock wave can breach the soil’s dry upper layer and release water molecules from a hydrated layer below. The LADEE spacecraft detects these water molecules as they enter the tenuous lunar atmosphere, with peaks in the water signal correlating to known meteor showers on Earth. The discovery of water just beneath the Moon’s surface provides a potential resource for future exploration, and it improves our understanding the Moon’s geologic past and its continued evolution.

ANIMATION - Beauty shots of the LADEE spacecraft. LADEE orbited the Moon from late 2013 to early 2014, collecting data on the tenuous lunar atmosphere and dust environment.

ANIMATION - Water is released from the Moon during meteor showers, when micrometeoroid impacts breach the dry lunar surface and eject water molecules from a hydrated layer below.

ANIMATION - This artist's concept depicts meteor showers sweeping over the Earth and Moon, causing the LADEE spacecraft (not shown) to measure spikes in the lunar water signal.

No description available.

STILL IMAGE - In this artist’s concept, the LADEE spacecraft (left) observes trace amounts of water escaping the Moon’s surface during bombardment by micrometeoroids (right).

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Conceptual Image Lab


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


This visualization is related to the following missions:


This visualization can be found in the following series:

You may also like...

Loading recommendations...