Are there signs of life on the Moon?
An Indian website reports that researchers from the Chandrayaan-1 may have seen some form of life on the Moon. Surendra Pal who is the associate director at Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Satellite Centre told DNAIndia.com that the spaceship had found some organic substance on the surface of the Moon. He said that the discovery was under analysis and scrutiny by ISRO scientists and peers to validate the conclusions.
Other Indian sources said that the project director of Chandrayaan-1, M. Annadurai said that the story had been released very early. However, he has not completely dismissed the thought.
On Tuesday, at the American Geophysical Union Fall Conference, several scientists from the NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter have implied possibilities of organic substances being found on the lunar surface. When questioned on the truth of Chandrayaan-1 finding signs of life on the Moon, the chief lunar scientist at NASA, Mike Wargo, did not out rightly refute the possibility. However, he said that it was an interesting idea and NASA would definitely be interested in knowing the results of further studies.
The spaceship’s Moon Impact Probe (MIP) touched the Shackleton Crater on the lunar South Pole on 14th November 2008. A scientist from Chandrayaan who wants to remain unnamed mentioned that the MIP’s mass spectrometer picked up chemical substances of organic compounds in the soil displaced by the landing.
A senior researcher told DNAIndia that some of the atomic numbers that were studied showed the presence of carbon compounds. This was an indication on the presence of organic substance on the lunar surface.
The source also added that the organic matter could have originated from comets or meteorites, which may have deposited these substances on the surface of the Moon. Furthermore, another discovery by the LCROSS mission that studied the ice on the Moon’s polar regions lends credibility to the possible presence of organic substances on the Moon.
Although, assuming that the presence of carbon compounds implies the presence of organic matter may be a little far-fetched; however, amino acids that have been found in comets were also seen in pieces of the 2008 TC3 asteroid, which hit Africa about one year before. During the past millennia, the lunar surface has been hit by several comets and asteroids.