New science reveals that Earth's magnetosphere can carry water to the moon. This means that other worlds, likewise, can share water with their satellites.

In space, water is far more plentiful than commonly thought by scientists, from the crust of Mars to the moons of Jupiter. It has also been observed well outside our solar system in clouds.

A Plane Is Dwarfed As It Flies Past The Moon
(Photo : Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 03: A plane flies past the moon at sunset on March 3, 2015 in London, England.

Past guesses involve collision by objects bearing water or that the moon was blasted by solar winds with ionized ions that essentially created water.

 But it turns out that, according to a study that was recently approved for publication by the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters, the moisture might possibly have originated from the Earth's magnetosphere. But there is increasing proof that it is far more complex in space. 

Computer simulations estimate that about all of the moisture would evaporate and vanish from the satellite within around three days of the full moon, while the solar wind is one of the origins of water on the moon.

Water from the lunar surface does not, however, vanish during this phase of magnetosphere screening. The substance was historically thought to be in the Earth's magnetic field, which absorbs the solar wind. Nevertheless, it is not.

ALSO READ: Water Ice Mapped Across Northern Part of Ganymede, the Largest Moon in the Solar System

Power of Teamwork

Scientists have been trying to find out where all the celestial water comes from ever since they noticed out the moon wasn't bone dry.

According to a UCLA press release on the report, the theory that lunar water falls at least in part from solar winds is now very commonly known by experts in the area. Yet simulations say that the same solar winds can actually evaporate half the water of the Earth on a nearly monthly basis, coinciding with the full moon.

The latest research, however, reveals that lunar water does not completely disappear. Instead, celestial magnetic winds, formed by the encounters between solar winds and the Earth's magnetic field, are replenished, spraying the moon with many more ionized particles.

During and during the magnetosphere's passing, the researchers compared the lunar surface's period and appearance. As a consequence, the writers of the study find that currents of magnetospheric ions, or the so-called 'earth wind,' would replenish the lunar water.

To identify better regions for potential space exploration as well as mining, scientists expect to begin their exploration of the moon with more efficient technologies.


The idea that planets help provide water to their natural satellite is a surprising and almost poetic discovery. But knowing about the impacts of the Earth's magnetosphere, apart from abstract science awe, may help space agencies defend astronauts better from cosmic radiation, according to the press release.

And, it's worth remembering, water on other worlds turned out to be plentiful. Finding out how it got to the moon will help us find out what happens to distant planets.

ALSO READ: In Five Years, Australia will be Mining the Moon for Water

Check out more news and information on Space on Science Times.