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NASA finds abundance of hydrogen on Moon's pole-facing slopes

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft has recently discovered more hydrogen in abundance on Moon 's pole-facing slopes, it has been revealed.


NASA finds abundance of hydrogen on Moon's pole-facing slopes

Washington: NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft has recently discovered more hydrogen in abundance on Moon 's pole-facing slopes, it has been revealed.

The recent discovery of hydrogen-bearing molecules, possibly including water, on the moon has explorers excited because these deposits could be mined if they are sufficiently abundant, sparing the considerable expense of bringing water from Earth.

Lunar water could be used for drinking or its components, hydrogen and oxygen, could be used to manufacture important products on the surface that future visitors to the moon will need, like rocket fuel and breathable air.

Recent observations by LRO spacecraft indicated that these deposits might be slightly more abundant on crater slopes in the southern hemisphere that face the lunar South Pole.

Timothy McClanahan of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, said that there's an average of about 23 parts-per-million-by-weight (ppmw) more hydrogen on Pole-Facing Slopes (PFS) than on Equator-Facing Slopes (EFS).

This was the first time a widespread geochemical difference in hydrogen abundance between PFS and EFS on the moon has been detected. It was equal to a one-percent difference in the neutron signal detected by LRO's Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector (LEND) instrument.

In addition to seeing if the same pattern exists in the moon's northern hemisphere, the team wants to see if the hydrogen abundance changes with the transition from day to night. If so, it would substantiate existing evidence of a very active production and cycling of hydrogen on the lunar surface, according to McClanahan.

The research is published in the journal Icarus. 

 

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