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A study suggests much more water on the moon than thought



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A trio of researchers from the University of California has found evidence that suggests that there is much more ice on the moon's surface than previously thought. In his article published in the magazine. Geosciences of natureLior Rubanenko, Jaahnavee Venkatraman and David Paige describe their study of the similarities between ice on Mercury and the shaded regions on the moon and what they found.

Previous researchers who used data from the Arecibo Observatory and also from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft found that there are areas of craters in the poles of Mercury that appear shaded from Earth. Data from the LRO probe that intentionally crashed on the surface of Mercury (which was launched from the LCROSS orbiting satellite in 2009) revealed water and ice vapor, evidence of ice deposits several meters thick in shadowy craters . The investigation also showed that ice was able to persist in craters because they were shaded, preventing sunlight from breaking them down. In this new effort, researchers investigated the possibility that similar-looking areas on the Moon can also hold ice.

The research trio began by pointing out that the Moon and Mercury have thermal environments that are somewhat similar. They also noted that both Mercury and the Moon have shaded craters with evidence of shallowness due to the accumulation of material within the divots. In Mercury, previous research showed that the accumulation of material was made partly of ice. To find out if the same could be true for the moon, the researchers obtained data describing 2,000 craters with shadow on Mercury and 12,000 craters with similar shadow on the moon.

To determine the similarities that could indicate that both harbor ice, the researchers compared their proportions of diameter to depth with each other. In doing so, they noted that the depth of the shaded craters on Mercury was very similar to the shallow depth observed with the shaded craters on the Moon. They suggest that the evidence indicates that the material that is accumulating in the shallow craters on the moon is probably also ice. If your ideas turn out to be correct, it would mean that there are millions of tons of ice on the moon's surface, much more than most moon scientists have thought.


Get a change of vision of the north pole of Mercury


More information:
Lior Rubanenko et al. Thick ice deposits in simple shallow craters on the Moon and Mercury, Geosciences of nature (2019). DOI: 10.1038 / s41561-019-0405-8

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A study suggests much more water on the moon than previously thought (2019, July 23)
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