On the moon, there’s no air to breathe, no breezes to make the flags planted there by the Apollo astronauts flutter. However, there is a very, very thin layer of gases on the lunar surface that can almost be called an atmosphere. Technically, it’s considered an exosphere.

In an exosphere, the gases are so spread out that they rarely collide with one another. They are rather like microscopic cannon balls flying unimpeded on curved, ballistic trajectories and bouncing across the lunar surface. In the moon’s atmosphere, there are only 100 molecules per cubic centimeter. In comparison, Earth’s atmosphere at sea level has about 100 billion billion molecules per cubic centimeter. The total mass of these lunar gases is about 55,000 pounds (25,000 kilograms), about the same weight as a loaded dump truck. Every night, the cold temperatures mean the atmosphere falls to the ground, only to be kicked up by the solar wind the following days.

“It’s not anything like an atmosphere we would think of,” Anthony Colaprete of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California said in a statement.

Several elements have been detected in the lunar atmosphere. Detectors left by Apollo astronauts have detected argon-40, helium-4, oxygen, methane, nitrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Earth-based spectrometers have detected sodium and potassium, while the Lunar Prospector orbiter found radioactive isotopes of radon and polonium. Recently, scientists even found that water molecules less than a micrometer thick could survive on the lunar surface.

In 2012, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter detected helium.

“The question now becomes, does the helium originate from inside the moon — for example, due to radioactive decay in rocks — or from an exterior source, such as the solar wind?” Alan Stern, principal investigator on the LRO’s LAMP instrument and researcher at the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado, said in a statement.

One of the sources for the moon’s atmosphere is outgassing, the release of gases from the lunar interior, usually due to radioactive decay. Outgassing events may also occur during moonquakes. After being released, lighter gases escape into space almost immediately. Outgassing replenishes the tenuous atmosphere.

The impact of sunlight, the solar wind and micrometeorites hitting the moon’s surface can also release gases that were buried in the lunar soil — a process called sputtering. These gases either fly off into space or bounce along the lunar surface. Sputtering may explain how water ice collected in lunar craters. Comets hitting the moon may have left some water molecules on the surface. Some of the molecules then accumulated in dark polar craters, forming beds of solid ice that some scientists and engineers have discussed mining for future human explorers.

The dust and atmosphere can have serious consequences for astronauts planning to travel to the moon. Moondust stripped Apollo spacesuits threadbare. Understanding the material floating in the lunar atmosphere should help space exploration programs to design the next generation of spacesuits and lunar equipment.”

Think Apocalypse 12:1.

What is LAVA made of ?

January 21, 2019

Lava is made up of crystals, volcanic glass, and bubbles (volcanic gases). As magma gets closer to the surface and cools, it begins to crystallize minerals like olivine and form bubbles of volcanic gases. When lava erupts it is made up of a slush of crystals, liquid, and bubbles. The liquid “freezes” to form volcanic glass.

Chemically lava is made of the elements silicon, oxygen, aluminum, iron, magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and titanium (plus other elements in very small concentrations. Have a look at the background information in Minerals, Magma, and Volcanic Rocks.


Most rocks are made of the following elements

There are 92 naturally occurring elements on earth but only eight elements make over 98% of the minerals on the Earth’s crust. They are, in decreasing quantity,

1 oxygen (O),

2 silicon (Si),

3 aluminum (Al),

4 iron (Fe) ,

5 calcium (Ca),

6 sodium (Na),

7 potassium (K),

8 magnesium (Mg) .

The graph  shows you the amounts of these elements in the Earth’s crust.

There are over 2000 minerals on Earth, but only 100 are commonly found. 30 minerals make up the majority of the rocks on Earth. You will be studying these minerals in this series of lessons. Rocks, as you learned in the last lesson, are made of two or more of these minerals.

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