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NASA Scientists Find Sun’s History Buried in Moon’s Crust

19 Jun 2019, 18:58 UTC
NASA Scientists Find Sun’s History Buried in Moon’s Crust
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The Sun is why we’re here. It’s also why Martians or Venusians are not. When the Sun was just a baby four billion years ago, it went through violent outbursts of intense radiation, spewing scorching, high-energy clouds and particles across the solar system. These growing pains helped seed life on early Earth by igniting chemical reactions that kept Earth warm and wet. Yet, these solar tantrums also may have prevented life from emerging on other worlds by stripping them of atmospheres and zapping nourishing chemicals.Just how destructive these primordial outbursts were to other worlds would have depended on how quickly the baby Sun rotated on its axis. The faster the Sun turned, the quicker it would have destroyed conditions for habitability. This critical piece of the Sun’s history, though, has bedeviled scientists, said Prabal Saxena, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Saxena studies how space weather, the variations in solar activity and other radiation conditions in space, interacts with the surfaces of planets and moons. Now, he and other scientists are realizing that the Moon, where NASA will be sending astronauts by 2024, contains clues to the ancient mysteries of the Sun, which are crucial ...

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