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Was the Moon habitable 4 billion years ago ?

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In the Mouth of Madness
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« on: July 24, 2018, 09:25:44 pm »

Was the Moon habitable 4 billion years ago ?
Posted on Tuesday, 24 July, 2018



Was the Moon once capable of supporting life ? Image Credit: NASA
A new study has highlighted two periods in the Moon's distant past when it may have actually supported life.
The barren lunar landscape may not seem like the most promising place to look for life today, however a new study has indicated that, billions of years ago, conditions there may have been very different.

In the study, Professor Dirk Schulze-Makuch from Washington State University and Professor Ian Crawford from the University of London propose that, during two specific periods approximately 3.5 and 4 billion years ago, the Moon was spewing out so much super-heated volatile gas that it may have supported the conditions needed for primitive life forms to thrive.

"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 Prof Schulze-Makuch.

There is also evidence to suggest that the Moon during these times had a magnetosphere - a protective magnetic field that deflects deadly radiation coming from the Sun.

While the two scientists don't believe life would have arisen independently on the Moon, they do believe that a meteorite could have transported life there from the Earth.

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


https://news.sky.com/story/moon-may-have-been-habitable-4-billion-years-ago-11446967
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In the Mouth of Madness
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2018, 09:41:54 pm »


Moon may have been habitable 4 billion years ago



New research claims that the moon could have supported life during two windows of its history, four and 3.5 billion years ago.

11:13, UK, Tuesday 24 July 2018
060280 01: Astronaut David Scott gives salute beside the U.S. flag July 30, 1971 on the moon during the Apollo 15 mission. (Photo by NASA/Liaison)
Image: Scientists believe there could have been life on the moon millions of years ago

The moon could have supported life billions of years ago, according to new research.

A study published in the journal Astrobiology has found that simple lifeforms could have survived on the lunar surface during two periods 3.5 and 4 billion years ago.

The study was conducted by two scientists, Professor Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an astrobiologist at Washington State University, and Professor Ian Crawford of Birkbeck, University of London.

They believe the moon must have been spewing out so much super-heated volatile gas, including water vapour, during these periods that it could have sustained life.

"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," Professor Schulze-Makuch said.
Earth rises above the horizon of the moon, as seen by the crew of the Apollo 8 mission, December 1968. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Image: Organisms could have been transported from Earth to the moon via a meteorite

It is also believed that the early moon had a magnetosphere - a magnetic field which would have deflected the sun's deadly electromagnetic radiation - similar to Earth's.

Professor Schulze-Makuch says life could have originated in the same way it did on Earth - with self-replicating molecules becoming more and more complex while continuing to reproduce.

However, he believes the more likely scenario is that life would have been brought in by a meteorite.

The earliest evidence for life on Earth is of fossilised bacteria that are between 3.5 and 3.8 billion years old - a time when the solar system was being bombarded by meteorites.

Professor Schulze-Makuch believes it is possible a meteroite could have blasted off Earth and transported similar life to the moon.
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"It looks very much like the moon was habitable at this time," Professor Schulze-Makuch said.

"There could have actually been microbes thriving in water pools on the moon until the surface became dry and dead."
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In the Mouth of Madness
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2018, 09:42:18 pm »

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