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This is an image of the Moon showing various minerals found on the surface.
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NASA

Outgassing of a Lunar Atmosphere

The atmosphere of the Moon may come from a couple of sources, one source is outgassing or the release of gases such as radon, which originate deep within the Moon's interior.

Gases are released from the interior of the Moon during moonquakes. Certain elements, such as uranium and thorium, are radioactive which means that over time, these elements decay and change into new elements, such as radon and polonium. The energy lost in this process takes the form of gamma rays, alpha particles and beta particles. These can be measured. These elements form a kind of "time machine" that scientists can use to determine what happened on the Moon in the past.

Compared to the Earth, the Moon is tectonically inactive, however moonquakes do occur, usually originating in the region between the lithosphere of the Moon and the Moon's core. By measuring outgassing events by special detectors such as the Alpha Particle Spectrometer onboard Lunar Prospector, researchers may be able to infer information about the character and frequency of that tectonic activity.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA