Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Where Has All The Water Gone? - LCROSS Strikes The Moon

I grew up with the Moon being dry, no water, magnificent desolation.
LCROSS strikes the Moon with an anticipated plume of water, but just a flash.
Still there are indications that the full story of water on the Moon has yet to be told.
- LRK -

LIVE LCROSS UPDATES: Reports Coming in on Moon Crash Results
By Stephen Clark posted: 08 October 2009 11:16 pm ET

2100 GMT (5 p.m. EDT)
A $79 million mission struck a lunar bullseye early Friday and collected a wealth of data to guide scientists seeking water on the moon, but the impact was a dud for observers hoping to catch a glimpse of space fireworks. See our full story.

1455 GMT (10:55 a.m. EDT)
The story coming out of the post-impact press conference is that scientists do not know exactly what LCROSS saw.
LCROSS gathered strong spectroscopic signals, but officials were expecting a dramatic visible ejecta plume from the Centaur impact that was not obviously observed by any sensor. Instruments also detected an unexpected sodium flash in the data.

Ground telescopes also observed suspected spectral data, but saw no apparent sign of a debris cloud.

Instruments on lunar spacecraft register indications of water or at least the hydroxyl.
- LRK -

Water detected at high latitudes - 09.24.09

This image of the moon is from NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper on the Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-1 mission. It is a three-color composite of reflected near-infrared radiation from the sun, and illustrates the extent to which different materials are mapped across the side of the moon that faces Earth.

Small amounts of water and hydroxyl (blue) were detected on the surface of the moon at various locations. This image illustrates their distribution at high latitudes toward the poles.

Blue shows the signature of water and hydroxyl molecules as seen by a highly diagnostic absorption of infrared light with a wavelength of three micrometers. Green shows the brightness of the surface as measured by reflected infrared radiation from the sun with a wavelength of 2.4 micrometers, and red shows an iron-bearing mineral called pyroxene, detected by absorption of 2.0-micrometer infrared light.

Image credit: ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Brown Univ./USGS

› Full resolution jpeg (1.8 Mb)

We have been told that the Lunar regolith samples returned by the Apollo missions turned out to be dry.

Now we hear that the Russian missions that landed on the Moon and returned samples of the regolith have tested for signs of water.

If you try to submit your ideas in peer reviewed articles and it doesn't meet the expectations of the reviewers, you may find it hard to get your article published. Then when the word finally gets out, the unspeakable, is spoken, and things may change.

The Moon may not be completely dry, you just may have to dig deeper.
- LRK -

Water on the Moon
by Arlin Crotts - Monday, October 12, 2009

On August 9, 1976, Luna 24 launched toward the Moon on a Proton rocket, and nine days later landed safely in the southern part of the unexplored Mare Crisium. Within 24 hours, it deployed a drilling rig, extracted a core sample from two meters into the Moon, stowed it in its return capsule, and blasted off again with 170 grams of lunar soil. Four days later it successfully re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere over Siberia, and the core sample was taken to Moscow intact and uncontaminated (as far as we know). It was the last lunar mission of the Soviet Union, and the last from Earth to soft-land on the Moon (as of this writing).

What it brought back was very special. The core sample was found by scientists M. Akhmanova, B. Dement’yev, and M. Markov of the Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytic Chemistry to contain about 0.1% water by mass, as seen by absorption in infrared spectroscopy (at about 3 microns wavelength), at a detection level about 10 times above the threshold. The trend was for the water signal to increase looking deeper below the lunar surface. The original title of their paper in the February 1978 Russian-language journal Geokhimiia translates to “Water in the regolith of Mare Crisium (Luna-24)?” and in the English-language version of the journal “Possible Water in Luna 24 Regolith from the Sea of Crises”—but the abstract claims a detection of water fairly definitively. The authors point out that the sample shows no tendency to absorb water from the air, but they were not willing to stake their reputations on an absolute statement that terrestrial contamination was completely avoided. Nonetheless, they claim to have taken every possible precaution and stress that this result must be followed up. The three Soviet lunar sample return missions (Luna 16, 20, and 24) from 1970 to 1976 brought back a total of 327 grams of lunar soil. The six Apollo lunar landing missions in 1969–1972 returned 381,700 grams of soil and rock. By 1978 it was widely held that the Apollo samples contained virtually no water, typically measuring in parts per billion, orders of magnitude less than the 1,000,000 parts per billion seen by Luna 24. The Soviet findings were completely ignored. (According to my searches, no other author has cited their work.)

Recently scientists learned that, for a major subclass of Apollo samples, the no-water result was seriously mistaken. Alberto Saal at Brown University and his collaborators showed, in the journal Nature in 2008 and other work in 2009, that volcanic glasses from magma originating deep in the lunar interior contain water at levels up to 70 parts per million. Furthermore, they calculate that most of this water was lost in the venting process, so probably started out at levels approaching one part per thousand, nearly at the level seen by Luna 24. Furthermore, the tendency has been for lunar scientists to think that the same processes that drove off most of the water from the Moon drove off other volatile, light elements. For this reason it is also surprising that Saal and collaborators are finding up to 0.09% sulfur (probably as sulfur dioxide), even before one accounts for loss processes. One could say, shockingly, that at least parts of the lunar interior are rich in sulfur, and hardly more depleted in water than many minerals on Earth, such as basalts along mid-ocean ridges. Few scientists have found cause to dismiss to the Saal et al. compositional measurements. They seem sound. Other researchers (such as Francis McCubbin and coworkers) have found supporting results.


Will the talk about "Water on the Moon" be enough to encourage the funding of sending human missions back to the Moon?
Will there be enough water for my morning coffee?
Will there be enough to sustain a Lunar Base?

The Moon may not be the only place where water is hard to find.
How deep are we now drilling for water here on Earth where once there was much?
- LRK -

Water Shortage Cripples Palestinian Farming
Water shortage threatens to curb UC research - Feb 6, 2009 10:17 AM
Groundwater overuse could cause severe water shortage
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - Sep. 15, 2008
7. WATER: Industrial farms could leave eastern Wash. with dry wells (Land Letter, 04/09/2009)
Worsening Water Shortages Threaten China's Food Supplies
Lester R. Brown / Earth Policy Institute 4oct01

Take some of our experience with finding water here on Earth, up to the Moon.
Fine tune it and bring back some Spin Offs that can be used back here on Earth.
Hard to drink coffee without water. :-)

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

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Lunar Water / Hydroxyl Signals Near a Crater
uploaded by mgmirkin September 26, 2009 at 11:28 am

Image Credit: ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS/Brown Univ.

Original Caption: These images show a lunar crater on the side of the moon that faces away from Earth, as viewed by NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper on the Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. On the left is an image showing infrared brightness. On the right, the abundance of water (light blue) and hydroxyl (red) is shown around a small crater. Hydroxyl-rich materials are seen as two rays emanating from the crater at the one and seven o'clock positions. Water-rich materials encircle the crater. Ray patterns such as those containing the hydroxyl usually indicate that materials have been excavated from below the surface. If so, it is possible that there are deposits of water- and hydroxyl-rich materials just below the surface of the moon.

Water Molecules Found on the Moon

Mission Images - Signatures of Water

Rays of Water and Hydroxyl

Moon Water: A Game-Changing Discovery
By Andrea Thompson Senior Writer posted: 24 September 2009 02:24 pm ET

This story was updated at 3:00 p.m. ET

The discovery of widespread but small amounts water on the surface of the moon, announced yesterday, stands as one of the most surprising findings in planetary science.

Three spacecraft picked up the signature of water, not just in the frigid polar craters where it has long been suspected to exist, but all over the lunar surface, which was previously thought to be bone dry.

"Widespread water has been detected on the surface of the moon," said planetary geologist Carle Pieters of Brown University in Rhode Island, who led one of the studies detailing the findings.

While the findings, detailed in the Sept. 25 issue of the journal Science, don't mean there are pools of liquid water sitting on the moon, it does mean that there is — entirely unexpectedly — water potentially tied up or mixed in the minerals that make up the lunar dirt.

"What we're detecting is completely unexpected," Pieters said. "The moon continues to surprise us."

The moon dirt would be akin to soil from an arid environment like Arizona — it wouldn't feel wet to the touch, but there's certainly water bound up in it, Pieters told

This discovery may well revolutionize our understanding of the nature of the moon's surface, experts say, and it has geologists eager to go back to the moon and dig up some lunar dirt.

"I rank this as a game changer for lunar science," said University of Colorado astrophysicist Jack Burns, chair of the science committee for the NASA Advisory Council. Burns was not involved in the new findings. "In my mind this is possibly the most significant discovery about the moon since the Apollo era."
Lunar smash produces surprise, disappointment
Posted: October 9, 2009

A $79 million mission struck a lunar bullseye early Friday and collected a wealth of data to guide scientists seeking water on the moon, but the impact was a dud for observers hoping to catch a glimpse of space fireworks.

"We have the data we need to actually address the questions we set out to address, and that's the bottom line," said Tony Colaprete, the principal investigator for the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS.

But after an ambitious campaign to engage the public in what was advertised as a visually observable event, the mission's Centaur rocket impactor crashed into the moon with barely a flicker of light at 1131 GMT (7:31 a.m. EDT) Friday.




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