Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rays of water and hydroxyl - A deeper well?

A litre per ton of the top 2 millimeters but how much water lies buried? A 'fresh' far side lunar crater as viewed by NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (3M) on ISRO's Chandrayaan-1. Left shows IR brightness and Right, the abundance of water (light blue) and hydroxyl (red) is shown in the ejecta blanket around the small crater. Hydroxyl-rich materials are seen as two rays (at one and seven o'clock) emanating from the crater while water-rich materials encircle the crater all around. Ray patterns such as those containing the hydroxyl signature usually indicate materials excavated from well below the surface. While every crater viewed this way by Chandrayaan showed the hydroxyl-rich minerals in its ejecta, many did. If the signature is a function of depth, it is possible there are deposits of water- and hydroxyl-rich materials just below the surface of the moon. [ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS/Brown]

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