You really think the moon crumbling and falling from the sky will get more than a shrug and a "it doesn't surprise me"?
The Moon’s surface is peppered with flecks of rust, according to research published on Wednesday. It’s a surprising discovery considering the natural satellite contains no free oxygen, which is needed to oxidize iron to make rust. Yet data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), a NASA-designed instrument onboard the Chandrayaan …
The plastic bags are there already...
One of the first things Neil Armstrong did was open the door and throw out the bag of rubbish. Unfortunately it then appears in the first photos too.
I thought the idea was to not leave biological waste on other celestial bodies...or something is going to have a shock in about a hundred million years when it discovers that its story of evolution began with the excrement of a hairless primate from a doomed planet...
In general, yes, we take great care to not contaminate planets, moons, etc. with anything related to Earth life. The moon is exempt from that requirement. I don't recall if the exception is because of the organic stuff left behind by Apollo, or if there were other reasons that preceded the Apollo program.
The Moon isn't exempt - it falls under COSPAR (COmmittee on SPAce Research) planetary protection guidelines which are linked to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. COSPAR guidelines go from zero (essentially missions to the Sun) which require no special biological contamination protections through to Category V which is reserved for sample return missions to bodies where there is a serious risk of contamination by Earth microorganisms.
Since the Moon is blasted by UV, the Solar Wind, has a massive temperature range and no atmosphere, it is highly unlikely that any organisms or complex organic molecules will be found there. Under COSPAR, missions to the Moon are considered Category II - destinations which might contain information about the origin of life but where terrestrial contamination is unlikely to interfere with data.
As for the COSPAR II requirements - basically fill out a form saying what you plan to do and any potential risk of contamination; then another form if you should do anything bad when you were there. The probes themselves don't need any particular sterilisation before launch.
TLDR - crap on the Moon if you want, but fill out the paperwork afterwards.
So that's 1.5 followed by 27 zeros which means 1.5 billion billion billion of these particles (why didn't they say molecules ? Is the word not hip any more ?).
And all of that is just the oxygen that our Moon is recovering from being, once a month, in our magnetosphere.
Which means that during the rest of the month, those particles are just streaming off into deep space. This is a world crisis ! Our precious oxygen is venting into space ! Forget the border wall, we need a Space Wall ! It's time to panic !!!!
Using 6.02 x 10^23 particles per mol and 22.4 litres per mol of a gas at STP
And assuming molecular oxygen with molecular weight of 32 g/mol
That makes 1.5 x 10^27 / 6.02 x 10^23 = 2500 mol of O2
2500 x 22.4 = 56000 litres
or 2500 x 32 = 80,000 grammes
That's about 56 cubic metres or 80Kg of Oxygen
Running the figures through The Reg online standards converter I make that 0.0224 Olympic-sized swimming pools or about 9.2 adult badgers of our precious oxygen we lose to the Moon each year!
Why didn't they say molecules? Is the word not hip any more?
Technically, they would most likely be molecular ions. I'm not sure whether the solar wind would knock an electron off O2, or slap one on (I'm sure those are the technical terms), but my guess is that they're either free O2+ or O2- ions being carried in the Earth's magnetic tail.
Edit - They may have used the term "particles" because there could also be a mix of other oxygen species in there, including neutral O2 molecules, O. radicals, and O- and O2- ions in varying amounts. It all depends on exactly how much of a battering those poor oxygen molecules are getting up there.
Well, yes, possibly ozone, but the thing is that O3 isn't terribly stable stuff, and any sort of appreciable knock (like being hit by a solar particle hard enough to spang* you out of orbit) will almost certainly cause it to decompose to O2 and the O. radical.
Also, ozone only makes up 0.00006% of the Earth's atmosphere, compared to O2's 20%
*once again, I'm certain this is the technical term.
Could Ozone make it there? I thought the upper layer of oxygen in the atmosphere was primarily ozone, O3, rather than O2.
Watch out for the Tabloid headline:
Moon steals Earth's Ozone layer! Big hole over Antarctica.
End: Silly idea>
They didn't say molecules because they should have said Atoms.
Oxygen is an element, i.e. a single atom. A molecule is a compound of two or more atoms, e.g. di-Hydrogen Monoxide, or the all-oxygen molecule Ozone.
IMO, using 'particle' is a bit of a gaffe as it implies a sub-atomic particle....it was either a mistake on their part, or they were dumbing it down for us :-)
A significant number of bipeds on Planet Earth (mostly in the USA I'm led to believe) truly believe that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. So how can this :-
It turns out that the total oxygen delivered to the Moon from Earth in 100 million years is sufficient to generate the hematite we see
Hold the front page. Earth isn't 4000 or so years old! (see icon)
Clearly this is from all the iron being used by the space Nazis to build their invasion fleet in their base on the dark side. I understand this was the focus of a speculative dramatised documentary a few years ago where the only thing they had wrong was the date.
Noting also that the sequel was one of those whose existence is subject to a certain amount of denial.
"... there are more complex chemical processes happening in our solar system than have been previously recognized ..."
"... to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me" Newton