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Possibly no or very little water ice on the moon

Posted by: Stefan Sigwarth - Thu Oct 19, 2006 7:13 am
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Possibly no or very little water ice on the moon 
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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:17 pm
Under www.welt.de an article has been published today about a german lunar mission Klaus Schmidt has written about in under News and started a discussion about in this section.

The article published today explicitly says that supposed or possible layers of water "mögliche Wasserfelder" according to the article" are intended to be inquired, investigated, analyzed.

The whole project will increase german space expenditures by Euro 300 mio over five years.

So the thought that there might be water, water-ice or layers of hydrogen on the Moon isn't given up yet but will be checked for more intensively.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:26 am
The article "Lunar Flash Mystery Solved: Moon Just Passing Gas" ( www.space.com/scienceastronomy/070730_gassy_moon.html ) is reporting something that might mean that water could be harvested on the Moon. It says that
Quote:
"... The areas selected consistently by TLP are the craters Aristarchus (in about 50 percent of sampled reports), Plato (about 15 percent) with Kepler, Copernicus, Tycho and Grimaldi all at the few percent level apiece," Crotts said.

This data ties in with observations made by the Apollo 15 and Lunar Prospector spacecraft which detected the gas radon-222 twice at Aristarchus and also once at Kepler and Grimaldi, among other locations. ...
and
Quote:
... Whatever mechanism initiates their release, Crotts suspects that the inert gases will be mixed with others of a more volcanic nature. "This is just speculation, but the prime volcanic suspects would be carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O)," Crotts said.

If lunar outgassing is a source of CO, CO2 or H2O, this could prove useful to future lunar colonies, supplying drinking water and fuel for example ...


This then would be water simply NOT in the form of ice but in the form of gas.



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Post    Posted on: Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:08 am
The article "Water on the Moon?" ( www.space.com/searchforlife/080605-seti-moon-water.html ) tells more about the precise findings about it up to now. It says that
Quote:
... Water ice remains consistent with the neutron studies, but only in concentrations of around 0.4 to 1 percent by weight, as small chunks mixed into the regolith. Or, if the ice is trapped in small pores in the soil minerals, it could be as much as 10 to 20 percent. Surface roughness and neutron counts both vary on spatial scales much smaller than the instruments can resolve, creating additional uncertainty. So the interpretation depends on certain assumptions, and can vary — it is still consistent with water ice mixed into the soil, and possibly even large amounts, but more likely very small amounts, if any at all.

The LCROSS mission is being optimized for 0.5 to 2 percent by weight of water in the soil — consistent with the neutron results. The general consensus at present is that the radar polarization in the polar regions is consistent with soil containing small amounts of ice, or could be due to surface roughness effects. Because the polarization is not actually correlated with the permanently shadowed regions, many are now leaning toward the surface roughness hypothesis, but there are insufficient data at present to conclusively determine whether there is ice. A dry regolith is virtually indistinguishable from regolith containing tiny amounts of ice within and between mineral grains. ...


So water ice isn't ruled out.

What about the amounts? What to do with small amounts mixed into the soil? ...



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Post    Posted on: Sat Jul 12, 2008 1:59 pm
(I moved the thread back into the Latest News section again because it doesn't fit into the Financial Barriers section from my point of view and it is talking about news indeed. )

The chances that there is water on the Moon are looking larger in between because of what the article "Water Discovered in Moon Samples " ( www.space.com/scienceastronomy/080709-moon-water.html ).

Of course this seems to be far from hopes and requirements known but it might be hint perhaps that the could be more in the lunar interior:

Quote:
Water has been found conclusively for the first time inside ancient moon samples brought back by Apollo astronauts. The discovery may force scientists to rethink the lunar past and future, although uncertainty remains about how much water exists and whether future explorers could extract it.

The water was found inside volcanic glass beads, which represent solidified magma from the early moon's interior.


Quote:
"For the past four decades, the limit for detecting water in lunar samples was about 50 parts per million (ppm) at best," said Erik Hauri, geochemist at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C. and co-author on the study. "We developed a way to detect as little as 5 ppm of water."

The group found up to 46 ppm of water within the glass beads. Saal and his collaborators then used modeling to estimate how much water originally existed in the magma within the moon's interior, knowing some water would have escaped the molten droplets as a gas on the surface.

That led to estimates that the glass beads may contain 745 ppm of water — strikingly similar to solidified lava that came up from the Earth's upper mantle through undersea vents. However, Saal's group gives 260 ppm of water as the most certain figure for now.


In so far the amounts of water seem to extremely small but the interesting point may be how much such glas beads exist on the Moon and if water might be found in the lunar lava fields.

Quote:
"The major uncertainty I see is whether they're sampling something that tells us about the bulk composition of the moon, or whether they have sampled materials produced by a more limited water-rich part of the moon's interior," Canup said.

Knowing whether water is highly abundant or relatively scarce within the moon could also have implications for lunar exploration, but not for near-future missions such as NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS).
.

www.wissenschaft.de reports about it also and says that more water is expected to be in the lunar interior and at the poles. Because of the similarity to the amount of water earthian Magma contains the assumption isplausible that the lunar interior contains as much water as the upper layers of rocks of Earth Eric Hauri of the Carnegie Institute of Sciences in Washington is quoted to have said.

So it is interesting to know that amount.

The glass beads also contain sulfur and carbon - perhaps thy are interesting under other aspects also.

Depending on the amount of glas beads or reservoirs of water inside the Moon the idea to build the permanent lunar station at the south pole should be revised perhaps - of course there is no reason to do so at the present state of the finding(s) but this might change perhaps.

The german article refers to Alberto Saal (Brown-University, Providence) et al.: Nature, Vol. 454, p. 192 ( www.nature.com/index.html )



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:56 pm
The chances to find water in Shackleton Crater seem to increase once more.

According to an article under www.wissenschaft.de Shackleton Crater is much older than thought up to now - around 3.6 bio years in difference to the former estimation of 1 bio years to 3.3 bio years. The new result is based on images from SMART-1.

So ice may have accunulated during a much longer period of time.

Besides of having brought there by comets water ice may have been formed by the solar wind - the hydrogen may have reacted with oxygen of lunar dust and rocks the scientists suppose.

The article refers to the team around Paul Spudis, Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston as well as to Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 35, article L14201 ( htwww.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008GL034468.shtml ).


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