`Moon may have more water than believed`

The findings were made using a precision instrument, called the NanoSIMS 50L ion microprobe.

Last Updated: May 27, 2011, 00:30 AM IST

Washington: The moon may have a lot more
water than imagined, perhaps as much in some parts as on
Earth, a discovery that has cast doubt on long-held theories
about how the moon was formed, said a study out today.

The moon was long thought to be a dusty, dry place
until a few years ago when water was discovered there for the
first time.

Now scientists at Case Western Reserve University,
Carnegie Institution for Science, and Brown University believe
there is 100 times more water deep inside the moon than
previously believed.

The findings were made using a precision instrument,
called the NanoSIMS 50L ion microprobe to examine lunar melt
inclusions, or tiny bits of molten rock that were picked up by
the Apollo 17, the last US mission to the moon in 1972.

"These samples provide the best window we have to the
amount of water in the interior of the moon," said co-author
James Van Orman, professor of geological sciences at Case
Western.

"The interior seems to be pretty similar to the
interior of the Earth, from what we know about water
abundance."

The findings are in the May 26 edition of Science
Express.

The same team published a paper in Nature in 2008,
describing the first evidence for the presence of water in
volcanic glasses returned by the Apollo missions.

PTI