Now, the Moon is inhospitable and barren, but, according to a recent study, our natural satellite could have housed life for two times since its formation 4 billion years ago. These two opportunities have occurred shortly after the development of the Moon, during the lunar volcanic activity of 3,5 billion years ago.
To date, the scientists couldn’t find another planet to hold life. However, according to a recent study carried out by researchers from the Washington State University (WSU) and University of London, the Moon could have housed the ideal conditions for life to develop in two short periods after its formation, about 3,5-4 billion years ago.
As the study reported, during the lunar volcanic activity of 3,5 billion years ago, liquid water might have formed, as well as a thick atmosphere to hold the water for several million years.
“If liquid water and a significant atmosphere were present on the early Moon for long periods of time, we think the lunar surface would have been at least transiently habitable,” stated Dirk Schulze-Makuch from the WSU.
The Moon could have housed life in its early history, 4 billion years ago
The scientists reach these conclusions after thoroughly analyzing lunar soil samples and recent space missions. They found out that our natural satellite is not as dry as previously estimated.
Additionally, in 2009 and 2010, scientists discovered significant amounts of water ice on the Moon, and they believe there also is a vast quantity of liquid water in the Moon’s mantle.
Even more, the recent study estimates that, during its early history, the Moon might have had a magnetic field similar to that of the Earth, which shielded the potential life forms living on the natural satellite’s surface.
Studying the earliest evidence of life on Earth, researchers discovered that the first life forms that inhabited our planet were cyanobacteria which, allegedly, arrived here after an asteroid impact. Similarly, the scientists say, cyanobacteria could have populated the Moon during one of the two opportunities when proper conditions for life were met on the lunar surface.
“It looks very much like the Moon was habitable at this time [3,5 million years ago]. There could have actually been microbes thriving in water pools on the Moon until the surface became dry and dead,” said Dr. Schulze-Makuch form the WSU.