Academic journal article Science Scope

Scientists Detect Magmatic Water on Moon's Surface

Academic journal article Science Scope

Scientists Detect Magmatic Water on Moon's Surface

Article excerpt

Scientists have detected magmatic water--wa-ter that originates from deep within the Moon's interior--on the surface of the Moon. These findings represent the first such remote detection of this type of lunar water and were arrived at using data from NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3).

The discovery represents an exciting contribution to the rapidly changing understanding of lunar water, said Rachel Klima, a planetary geologist and member of the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI).

"For many years, researchers believed that the rocks from the Moon were 'bone-dry' and that any water detected in the Apollo samples had to be contamination from Earth," said Klima. "About five years ago, new laboratory techniques used to investigate lunar samples revealed that the interior of the Moon is not as dry as we previously thought."

In 2009, the M3 fully imaged the lunar impact crater Bullialdus. After examining the M3 data, Klima and her colleagues found that the crater has significantly more hydroxyl--a molecule consisting of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom--compared to its surroundings.

The internal magmatic water provides information about the Moon's volcanic processes and internal composition, Klima said. …

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