This is an image of the Moon showing various minerals found on the surface.
Click on image for full size
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
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
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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