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On Second Thought, the Moon's Water May Be Widespread and Immobile

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On Second Thought, the Moon's Water May Be Widespread and Immobile

Post by Dragon on Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:53 pm


Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

If the Moon has enough water, and if it's reasonably convenient to access, future explorers might be able to use it as a resource.

The results contradict some earlier studies, which had suggested that more water was detected at the Moon’s polar latitudes and that the strength of the water signal waxes and wanes according to the lunar day (29.5 Earth days). Taking these together, some researchers proposed that water molecules can “hop” across the lunar surface until they enter cold traps in the dark reaches of craters near the north and south poles. In planetary science, a cold trap is a region that’s so cold, the water vapor and other volatiles which come into contact with the surface will remain stable for an extended period of time, perhaps up to several billion years.

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Re: On Second Thought, the Moon's Water May Be Widespread and Immobile

Post by Dragon on Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:55 pm



Since the 1960's, scientists have suspected that frozen water could survive in cold, dark craters at the Moon's poles. While previous lunar missions have detected hints of water on the Moon, new data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) pinpoints areas near the south pole where water is likely to exist. The key to this discovery is hydrogen, the main ingredient in water: LRO uses its Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector, or LEND, to measure how much hydrogen is trapped within the lunar soil. By combining years of LEND data, scientists see mounting evidence of hydrogen-rich areas near the Moon's south pole, strongly suggesting the presence of frozen water.

 
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Re: On Second Thought, the Moon's Water May Be Widespread and Immobile

Post by Dragon on Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:56 pm



Using newly calibrated data taken from NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper, which flew aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, scientists have created the first global map of water in the Moon's soil.

 
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