Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mineral Mapping the Moon

Early mineral map derived from the different spectral, signatures measured by NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (3M) on board the Indian Space Research Organisation's Chandrayaan, before India's first lunar orbiter failed last month. The green, purple and blue areas are covered with iron-rich lava flows, similar to those of Hawai'i. The red and pink regions contain the mineral plagioclase, among the minerals found in granite on Earth. Measurements of iron (Fe) on the Moon is an important marker of the likely presence of the important compounds with which it is known to bond on the Moon, like titanium, and oxygen. From similar mineralogical maps derived from remote sensing from Clementine (1994) the presense of Helium-3, a possible fuel for advanced, clean nuclear fusion on Earth beyond 2050. [ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Brown]

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