Solar Storm melts soil on Moon, produces Spark: See Image


Recent studies conducted by NASA have found out that Solar storms approaching toward Moon is about to spark the soil on Moon’s poles.

According to the scientists, such powerful solar storms can allege up the soil in the cold surface like Moon. It can permanently shadow the regions near the lunar poles, and is expected to produce “sparks”. These sparks are capable of vaporising the soil and can also melt the soil. It’s almost as much as meteoroid impacts, says NASA-funded research on Lunar. This phenomenon can become more evident after analyzing future samples of these regions.

This study can also help to study the history of Moon and our solar system. Research says the moon has almost no atmosphere, so its surface is exposed to the harsh space environment. Impacts of these small meteoroids constantly whip the topmost layer of the dust and rock, called ‘regolith’, on the moon.

According to scientists Andrew Jordan of the University of New Hampshire, Durham, “About 10 percent of this gardened layer is already melted and vaporized by meteoroid impacts.We found that in the moon’s permanently shadowed regions, sparks from solar storms could melt or vaporize a similar percentage.”

Extremely explosive solar activity, like flares and coronal mass ejections, blast highly energetic, electrically charged particles into space. Earth’s atmosphere protect us from most of this radiation effect, but on the moon, these particles like ions and electrons smash directly into the Lunar surface. They collect in two layers underneath the surface. The bulky ions are not capable of penetrating deeply because they are more prone to hit atoms in the ‘regolith’. Hence they tend to form a layer closer to the surface. But the tiny electron particles slide through and form a deeper layer on the surface. The ions have a positive charge and the electrons carry a negative charge. Since opposite charges attract, normally these charges flow towards each other and balance out.

According to Jordan, “Lab experiments show that dielectric breakdown is an explosive process on a tiny scale. During breakdown, channels could be melted and vaporized through the grains of soil. Some of the grains may even be blown apart by the tiny explosion. The PSRs are important locations on the moon because they contain clues to the moon’s history, such as the role that easily vaporized material like water has played. But to decipher that history, we need to know in what ways PSRs are not pristine; that is, how they have been weathered by the space environment, including solar storms and meteoroid impacts.”

Jordan was the main author of the Journal that was written on August 2016 about this phenomenon. Scientists are suspecting that though this phenomenon can be dangerous for Earth but still it can be studied to find out more about the history and origin of Moon and our Solar system.

About the author

Kanishk Singh

Kanishk Singh, co-founder, and editor-in-chief at The TeCake, has forayed in the Science and Space for over five years, he enjoys his stint as an editor of several local magazines. He has written several editorials and high-level documentations.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

You Might Also Like