Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on TwitterIf conspiracy theorists have so-called damning evidence that the lunar landings were portions of an elaborate hoax, the collection of moon rocks is one very tangible proof that can sufficiently counter all those arguments. Nowhere on Earth can you find rocks having the same characteristics as those brought by the Apollo missions.
You don’t have to be a science genius to see that moon rocks look different. Their peculiar appearance, particularly the presence of tiny craters, can be attributed to the heavy dose of meteoroid impacts the moon’s surface receives every minute. Since the Earth has an atmosphere, while the Moon does not, such tiny craters are not as common in rocks found here. Small meteoroids that enter the atmosphere easily disintegrate after burning.
Another thing is that, Earth is mainly protected from high energy cosmic rays by its magnetic field. The moon, having a much weaker external magnetic field, does not have the same level of protection. As such, high energy cosmic ray bombardment on the lunar surface can produce isotopes that aren’t common here on Earth. Such rare isotopes are found in the Moon rocks.
To simplify, it’s more difficult to replicate the same conditions on the Moon to produce such rock characteristics than to simply go there. Furthermore, the Moon rocks were distributed to more than a hundred laboratories in different countries all over the world. These labs have conducted research and produced scientific papers out of them.
It would be virtually impossible to pay a great number of respectable institutions worldwide just to corroborate a grand hoax.
40 years after the Apollo missions collected moon rocks, scientists have still been able to extract new information from them.
About a month ago (August 2009), University of Cambridge’s Materials Chemistry Professor Derek Fray and his team presented a paper showing how oxygen can be extracted from them. Fray revealed that three tons of Moon rocks would be required to produce one ton of oxygen using three 1-meter high reactors which he and his team designed. These findings make colonization of the moon all the more possible.
Still, there is even more information that scientists hope to unravel. Hopefully, for example, further studies conducted on moon rocks can reveal more about extremely large meteorite impacts on Earth. This story has been hidden by our planet’s active geology … but not by the moon. The huge craters on the lunar surface is evidence that such a violent event occurred in the past.
A piece of lunar rock might just be enough to tell us that story.
If you want to read more about Fray’s device that extracts oxygen from Moon rocks, we’ve got exactly what you need here in Universe Today. Just click on that link. We also have an article featuring secrets that may be revealed from moon rocks even 40 years since the Apollo missions brought them to Earth.
Here’s an article from NASA that debunks the hoax theory using the Moon rock arguments. Another article about Moon rocks from the same site.
Episodes about the moon from Astronomy Cast. Lend us your ears!