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Contrary to recent reports about water content in lunar rocks, the Moon may be quite dry, say scientists.
A study by US researchers, published in Science, analysed chlorine isotopes of the much-studied samples, brought to Earth by the Apollo space missions.
They added that there was no or very little hydrogen in the magma ocean during the Moon's formation.
And that would mean the Earth's natural satellite may have always been too dry to host life.
Zachary Sharp from the University of New Mexico led the study.
Chlorine-35 has two fewer neutrons in its nucleus than chlorine-37, and hence is lighter and was more prone to vaporizing out from the magma ocean. But if the magma also contained a lot of hydrogen — perhaps in the form of water, H2O — a competing process would also take place. Chlorine-37 likes to bond with hydrogen and vaporize out as hydrogen chloride. So if hydrogen were present, more chlorine-37 would escape the magma along with chlorine-35.