For most practical purposes, the Moon is considered to be surrounded by vacuum. The elevated presence of atomic and molecular particles in its vicinity (compared to interplanetary medium), referred to as ‘lunar atmosphere’ for scientific objectives, is negligible in comparison with the gaseous envelope surrounding Earth and most planets of the Solar system – less than one hundred trillionth of Earth’s atmospheric density at sea level.
One source of the lunar atmosphere is outgassing: the release of gases such as radon and helium that originate from radioactive decay within the crust and mantle. Another important source is the bombardment of the lunar surface by micrometeorites, the solar wind, and sunlight, in a process known as sputtering
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