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The Moon's Interior Could Contain Lots of Water, Study Shows
Posted: MinervaDoe @ Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:29 pm

The Moon's Interior Could Contain Lots of Water, Study Shows

The researchers analyzed satellite data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 probe, which measures reflected sunlight at visible and near-infrared wavelengths. In order to estimate the amount of trapped water in the pyroclastic deposits, the scientists had to isolate the reflected sunlight from the thermal energy emitted by the moon's hot surface.

"Different minerals and compounds will absorb and reflect light in different ways, so in our case we looked at wavelengths where [the molecules] H2O and OH absorb light," Milliken said. "We found that there were larger absorptions, or less reflected sunlight, at these wavelengths for pyroclastic deposits, which indicates they contain OH or H2O."

Evidence of water deep beneath the lunar surface may also have implications for how Earth got its water, scientists say. Furthermore, the study's findings suggest that the pyroclastic deposits could possibly be mined for water, which, in turn, could fuel future missions to the moon.

"These deposits may be much easier to access than potential water ice in shadowed regions at the lunar poles," Milliken said. "Water is heavy and expensive to take from Earth to space, so any bit of water that you can get on the moon instead of bringing with you from Earth is a big deal and opens up possibilities for sustained human presence on the moon."

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