For the past 2.4 billion years, Earth has been sending oxygen to the Moon, according to new research published in Nature Astronomy. The data was collected by a Japanese spacecraft called Kaguya, which closely orbited the Moon from 2007 to 2009.
Apparently, when the Moon sits in the shadow of Earth’s magnetic field—it happens for about five days during the Moon’s 27-day orbit—it gets bombarded with oxygen. As a result, researchers believe the Moon’s soil contains trapped particles from ancient Earth.
“A consequence of this finding is that the entire lunar surface can be contaminated with biogenic terrestrial oxygen, which has been produced by photosynthesis over a few billion years,” the study explains.
Scientists have suspected as much before but have never been able to confirm the results.
It’s like being downwind of Earth’s fart
“How is this even possible?” you might ask. A long funnel of electrically-charged particles is produced by Earth’s magnetic field, with a plasma sheet said to be at the center.
Despite sitting around 240,000 miles from Earth, the plasma sheet is able to send energy O+ ions to the Moon’s surface, which leads scientists to believe it’s getting pumped with Earth’s oxygen.
Man stepped foot on the lunar surface all the way back in 1969. But it appears Earth has been sending the Moon a care package for at least a few billion years. You can check the study out for yourself at the source link below.