Saturday, 22 June 2013

Metamorphosis of Moon's Water Ice Explained

File:FullMoon2010.jpg

Full Moon photograph taken 10-22-2010 from Madison, Alabama, USA. Photographed with a Celestron 9.25 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. (Image Source: Wikipedia.org )

Published: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 17:04 in Astronomy & Space
 
Using data gathered by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission, scientists believe they have solved a mystery from one of the solar system's coldest regions -- a permanently shadowed crater on the moon. They have explained how energetic particles penetrating lunar soil can create molecular hydrogen from water ice. The finding provides insight into how radiation can change the chemistry of water ice throughout the solar system. Space scientists from the University of New Hampshire and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center have published their results online in the Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR): Planets. Lead author of the paper is research scientist Andrew Jordan of the University of New Hampshire's Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS).

Discovering molecular hydrogen on the moon was a surprise result from NASA's Lunar Crater Observation Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission, which crash-landed the LCROSS satellite's spent Centaur rocket at 5,600 miles per hour into the Cabeus crater in the permanently shadowed region of the moon. These regions have never been exposed to sunlight and have remained at temperatures near absolute zero for billions of years, thus preserving the pristine nature of the lunar soil, or regolith.

Instruments on board LCROSS trained on the resulting immense debris plume detected water vapor and water ice, the mission's hoped-for quarry, while LRO, already in orbit around the moon, saw molecular hydrogen -- a surprise.

"LRO's Lyman Alpha Mapping Project, or LAMP, detected the signature of molecular hydrogen, which was unexpected and unexplained," says Jordan.

More - Link >>> http://esciencenews.com/articles/2013/06/19/metamorphosis.moons.water.ice.explained

Sources: University of New Hampshire, e! Science News.

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