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First Global Map of Water on Moon Created

Published on September 16, 2017
Scientists have created the first map of water trapped in the uppermost layer of the Moon’s soil.
The map is created using data from an instrument aboard India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.

First Global Map of Water on Moon Created

  • It will prove to future lunar explorers.
  •  The data is taken from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper, which flew aboard Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, to quantify how much water is present on a global scale.
  • The study which was carried by the Scientists from Brown University was published in the journal Science Advances.
  • It is based on the initial discovery in 2009 of water and a related molecule — hydroxyl, which consists of one atom each of hydrogen and oxygen — in the lunar soil.

Highlights of the Report

  • The report says that the signature of water is present nearly everywhere on the lunar surface.
  • The amount of water increases toward the poles and it does not show significant difference among distinct compositional terrains.
  • The water concentration reaches a maximum average of around 500 to 750 parts per million in the higher latitudes which is less than what is found in the sands of Earth’s driest desert
  • The distribution of water is largely uniform rather than splotchy and it is gradually decreasing towards the equator with concentrations
  •  The researchers found higher-than-average concentrations of water in lunar volcanic deposits near the Moon’s equator, where background water in the soil is scarce.
  • The water in those localised deposits likely comes from deep within the Moon’s mantle and erupted to the surface in lunar magma.
  • The study also found that the concentration of water changes over the course of the lunar day at latitudes lower than 60 degrees, going from wetter in the early morning and evening to nearly bone dry around lunar noon. The fluctuation can be as much as 200 parts per million.

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