Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Moon’s polar craters could be the place to find lunar ice

18.12.2008
Scientists have discovered where they believe would be the best place to find ice on the moon.

Astrophysicists, led by an expert at Durham University, say if frozen water exists then it is most likely to be found near to the moon’s poles in craters that are permanently shaded from the sun.

Their findings are based on a new computer analysis of data from the Lunar Prospector, a space probe sent to the moon in 1998 by NASA. The researchers showed that hydrogen on the moon is concentrated into polar craters where temperatures are colder than minus 170 degrees Celsius.

Hydrogen, together with the oxygen that is abundant within moon rock, is a key element in making water.

If ice is present in the craters then the researchers say it could potentially provide a water source for the eventual establishment of a manned base on the moon. A moon base could be used as a platform for exploration into the further reaches of our solar system.

The findings are published in the International Journal of Solar System Studies, Icarus.

They show that if the hydrogen is present as water ice, then the average concentration in some craters corresponds to ten grams of ice in each kilogram of moon rock.

However the researchers say that instead of being water ice, hydrogen may be present in the form of protons fired from the sun into the dusty lunar surface.

Dr Vincent Eke, in the Institute for Computational Cosmology, at Durham University, said: “This research applies a newly developed technique to data from the Lunar Prospector mission to show that hydrogen is actually concentrated into the permanently shaded polar craters.

“Water ice should be stable for billions of years on the moon provided that it receives no sunlight.

“If the hydrogen is present as water ice then our results imply that the top metre of the moon holds about enough water to fill up Kielder Water.”

Kielder Water, in Northumberland, holds 200,000 million litres of water, making it the largest UK manmade reservoir in Northern Europe.

The research may be of immediate use in lunar exploration. Dr Richard Elphic, in the Planetary Systems Branch, NASA Ames Research Center, said: "These results will help NASA's soon-to-be launched Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) missions.

“For example, LCROSS aims to liberate water by impacting into permanently shadowed polar terrain where ice may exist, and our improved maps of hydrogen abundance can help LCROSS select a promising impact site.

“These maps will also help focus LRO's search for possible polar ice by identifying hydrogen-rich locales".

The research was led by Dr Eke together with colleagues from the University of Glasgow and the Planetary Systems Branch, Space Science and Astrobiology Division, of NASA Ames Research Center in California, USA.

The research was funded by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, a Leverhulme Research Fellowship and the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Participating Scientist Programme.

Leighton Kitson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.durham.ac.uk
http://www.royalsociety.org

Further reports about: LCROSS Moon’s polar craters NASA Orbiter Planetary Water frozen water lunar base lunar ice moon rock water ice

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht APEX takes a glimpse into the heart of darkness
25.05.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie

nachricht First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR
24.05.2018 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>