The atmosphere of the Moon

Authors
Citation
M. Mendillo, The atmosphere of the Moon, EARTH MOON, 85-6, 2001, pp. 271-277
Citations number
12
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Space Sciences
Journal title
EARTH MOON AND PLANETS
ISSN journal
0167-9295 → ACNP
Volume
85-6
Year of publication
2001
Pages
271 - 277
Database
ISI
SICI code
0167-9295(2001)85-6:<271:TAOTM>2.0.ZU;2-N
Abstract
The possible existence of a lunar atmosphere has both fascinated and challe nged astronomers for hundreds of years. Galileo searched for evidence of cl ouds, and Kepler imagined an Earth-like climate. Landings during the Apollo era brought instruments that measured a weak atmospheric pressure. Decades later, new spectrographic and imaging instruments detected sodium and pota ssium gas that extended to surprisingly large distances, making the Moon's gaseous environment appear as comet-like. The sources of the lunar atmosphe re involve the impact of sunlight, solar wind plasma and meteors upon the s urface to release atoms and perhaps molecules. Solar radiation and the grav itational influence of the Earth play dramatic roles in the subsequent evol ution of the lunar atmosphere.