Does the Moon have the same nutrients as Earth?

We had a dig around in the lunar soil to find out what it’s made of

Apollo 12 Astronaut Alan Bean takes a sample of lunar soil in this NASA shot

Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean takes a sample of lunar soil in this NASA shot

Asked by Rosie Brown

Although the Moon and the Earth are thought to have a similar origin, their evolutionary history means that there are significant differences between our terrestrial soil and its lunar counterpart. Here on Earth our atmosphere and climate systems create a water- and oxygen-rich environment for soil to form. In contrast, our Moon has to rely almost entirely on impacts from space debris to physically break up lunar rock to create its fine, powdery lunar soil. This makes the two soils chemically different.

Nutrients are generally defined as compounds that are essential for life and many are created by biological processes. On Earth, nutrients are constantly being recycled and organic material is always being put back into the soil – something that doesn’t happen on the Moon.

Answered by Zoe Baily at the National Space Centre

Image Credit: NASA

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