Water may be trapped in lunar potholes
These pits could trap water formed when hydrogen in the solar wind combines with oxygen in rocks.
Washington: Water molecules, which was found in ‘significant amount’ on the moon`s surface in October 2009, may be trapped in the pits of its surface, say scientists.
In 2009, the Kaguya probe spotted potholes on the moon 50 to 100 m wide and a similar distance deep. The holes are thought to be the caved-in ceilings of caverns called lava tubes.
Now Junichi Haruyama of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and colleagues have said that these pits could trap water formed when hydrogen in the solar wind combines with oxygen in rocks, reports New Scientist.
The researchers said the freezing cold, shadowy floors of the holes would keep a tight grip on these water molecules, in contrast to more exposed areas, where sunlight could loosen them from the surface.
Studying the isotopic composition of the water could help determine whether it came from the solar wind or comets.
The findings were presented recently at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas.