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  • Lunar Oasis
    Posted by KristinMajcher 9:10 PM on Oct 21, 2010

    blog post photo
    "Diviner brightness temperature swath acquired about 90 seconds after the LCROSS impact, the location of which is indicated by the white arrow. Based on the Diviner measurements, the impact site was heated to more than 700°C (1,300°F)."  UCLA/NASA/JPL/Goddard

    Today an international group of scientists shared some new findings from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS). What did they find? Well, test instruments show the presence of water ice in both the Moon's permanently shadowed regions as well as areas that receive occasional sunlight.

    From the conversation the panel had today, the results seem pretty unexpected. That's because reserachers previously thought that water ice could only exist in permanently shadowed areas (PSRs) on the moon, and definitely not in areas where the sun's rays would melt it.

    William Boynton, a professor at University of Arizona, took part in the research and explained it like this:

    "We think in the PSRs, water ice might be present on the surface, but the fact we found it in the partially sunlit areas  too means the upper three inches or so must be dry dirt -- otherwise, the sunlight would cause the water to evaporate."

    Analysis of data was captured by LRO and LCROSS when the latter mission purposely crashed its spent Centaur upper stage into the Moon's Cabeus crater shows that volatiles including methane, hydrogen gas, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide made up more than 20% of the resulting impact plume. Analysis also revealed the presence of light metals such as sodium, mercury and possibly silver.

    The results will be published as six papers in tomorrow's journal Science, but here are some videos and multimedia from the panelists that help us get a better picture of the mission.

    Tags: moon, LRO, LCROSS, os99

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