Research ArticleSPACE SCIENCES

KAGUYA observation of global emissions of indigenous carbon ions from the Moon

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Science Advances  06 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 19, eaba1050
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba1050


Carbon is a volatile element that has a considerable influence on the formation and evolution of planetary bodies, although it was previously believed to be depleted in the Moon. We present observations by the lunar orbiter KAGUYA of carbon ions emitted from the Moon. These emissions were distributed over almost the total lunar surface, but amounts were differed with respect to lunar geographical areas. The estimated emission fluxes to space were ~5.0 × 104 per square centimeter per second, which is greater than possible ongoing supplies from the solar wind and micrometeoroids. Our estimates demonstrate that indigenous carbon exists over the entire Moon, supporting the hypothesis of a carbon-containing Moon, where the carbon was embedded at its formation and/or was transported billions of years ago.

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