Ice on the Moon


** Ice on the Moon **

*A Summary of Clementine and Lunar Prospector Results*


*Update* The impact plumes of the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing
Satellite (LCROSS) and its Centaur rocket stage in Cabeus crater near the
south pole of the Moon on 9 October 2009 showed the spectral signature of
hydroxyl, a key indicator that water ice is present in the floor of the
crater (1). Analysis of the results indicates concentrations of roughly 6%
water in the impact area, including nearly pure ice crystals in some spots.
The Indian Chandrayaan-1 Moon Mineralogy Mapper experiment showed
low-concentration hydroxyl signatures over much of the lunar surface, not
just in permanently shadowed craters (2), and the Mini-SAR experiment
indicated possible large deposits of water-ice in the northern lunar
craters (3).

The discussion below is historical, based primarily on results from the
Clementine and Lunar Prospector missions, our view of water on the Moon is
changing continuously with results from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
and analyses of lunar samples on Earth.

[Image of Moon's south pole]

On 5 March 1998 it was announced that data returned by the Lunar Prospector
spacecraft indicated that water ice might be present at both the north and
south lunar poles, in agreement with interpretations of Clementine results
for the south pole reported in November 1996. The ice originally appeared
to be mixed in with the lunar regolith (surface rocks, soil, and dust) at
low concentrations conservatively estimated at 0.3 to 1 percent. Subsequent
data from Lunar Prospector taken over a longer period has indicated the
possible presence of discrete, confined, near-pure water ice deposits
buried beneath as much as 18 inches (40 centimeters) of dry regolith, with
the water signature being stronger at the Moon's north pole than


is there ice on the moon

Lunar water - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


** Lunar water **

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Composite image of the Moon's south polar region, captured by NASA's
Clementine probe over two lunar days. Permanently shadowed areas could
harbour water ice.

*Lunar water* is water that is present on the Moon. Liquid water cannot
persist at the Moon's surface, and water vapour is decomposed by sunlight,
with hydrogen quickly lost to outer space. However, scientists have since
the 1960s conjectured that water ice could survive in cold, permanently
shadowed craters at the Moon's poles.

Water (H[2]O), and the chemically related hydroxyl group (-OH), can also
exist in forms chemically bound^[/how?/] to lunar minerals (rather than as
free water), and evidence strongly suggests that this is indeed the case in
low concentrations over much of the Moon's surface.^[1] In fact, adsorbed
water is calculated to exist at trace concentrations of 10 to 1000 parts
per million.^[2]

Inconclusive evidence of free water ice at the lunar poles was accumulated
from a variety of observations suggesting the presence of bound hydrogen.
In September 2009, ISRO's /Chandrayaan-1/ detected water on the
Moon^[3]^[4] and hydroxyl absorption lines in reflected sunlight. In
November 2009, NASA reported that its LCROSS space probe had detected a
significant amount of hydroxyl group in the material thrown up from a south
polar crater by an impactor;^[5] this may be attributed to water-bearing
materials^[6] – what appears to be "near pure crystalline
water-ice".^[7] In March 2010, it was reported that the Mini-RF on board
the ISRO's Chandrayaan-1 had discovered more than 40 permanently darkened
craters near the Moon's north pole which are hypothesized to contain an
estimated 600 million metric tonnes (1.3 trillion pounds) of water

Water may have


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