Moon’s been getting oxygen from Earth’s plants for billions of years

The moon may carry material produced by life from Earth dating back to when plants first filled the planet’s air with oxygen, according to study of data from a Japanese lunar orbiter. A team led by Kentaro Terada of Osaka University looked at data from the Selenological and Engineering Explorer, better known as Kaguya. The researchers found that a certain kind of oxygen isotope was present in the lunar soil, an isotope that occurs on Earth.

Almost all of the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere for the last 2 and a half billion years came from photosynthesis. That means the moon’s rocks have been picking up small amounts of oxygen from living things on Earth; the moon is “contaminated” with the waste products of plants, the researchers said. Read more.

Tags: Geology Astronomy