Science Journal Articles on the detailed detection of Lunar Water, Calcium, Magnesium, Mercury and Silver

Below are links the science journal articles about the recent analysis of lunar spectra results. Paul Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, cautions that the spectral lines are not definitive. “We really need a surface rover mission,” he says. “We can argue about emission spectra from now until doomsday, but I want an on-the-spot measurement before I’ll finally believe it.

Journal Science – Detection of Water in the LCROSS Ejecta Plume

Several remote observations have indicated that water ice may be presented in permanently shadowed craters of the Moon. The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission was designed to provide direct evidence. On 9 October 2009, a spent Centaur rocket struck the persistently shadowed region within the lunar south pole crater Cabeus, ejecting debris, dust, and vapor. This material was observed by a second “shepherding” spacecraft, which carried nine instruments, including cameras, spectrometers, and a radiometer. Near-infrared absorbance attributed to water vapor and ice and ultraviolet emissions attributable to hydroxyl radicals support the presence of water in the debris. The maximum total water vapor and water ice within the instrument field of view was 155 ± 12 kilograms. Given the estimated total excavated mass of regolith that reached sunlight, and hence was observable, the concentration of water ice in the regolith at the LCROSS impact site is estimated to be 5.6 ± 2.9% by mass. In addition to water, spectral bands of a number of other volatile compounds were observed, including light hydrocarbons, sulfur-bearing species, and carbon dioxide.

Journal Science – The LCROSS Cratering Experiment

As its detached upper-stage launch vehicle collided with the surface, instruments on the trailing Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) Shepherding Spacecraft monitored the impact and ejecta. The faint impact flash in visible wavelengths and thermal signature imaged in the mid-infrared together indicate a low-density surface layer. The evolving spectra reveal not only OH within sunlit ejecta but also other volatile species. As the Shepherding Spacecraft approached the surface, it imaged a 25- to-30-meter–diameter crater and evidence of a high-angle ballistic ejecta plume still in the process of returning to the surface—an evolution attributed to the nature of the impactor

Journal Science – Diviner Lunar Radiometer Observations of the LCROSS Impact

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Diviner instrument detected a thermal emission signature 90 seconds after the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) Centaur impact and on two subsequent orbits. The impact heated a region of 30 to 200 square meters to at least 950 kelvin, providing a sustained heat source for the sublimation of up to ~300 kilograms of water ice during the 4 minutes of LCROSS post-impact observations. Diviner visible observations constrain the mass of the sunlit ejecta column to be ~10^–6 to 10^–5 kilograms per square meter, which is consistent with LCROSS estimates used to derive the relative abundance of the ice within the regolith

Journal Science – Diviner Lunar Radiometer Observations of Cold Traps in the Moon’s South Polar Region

Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment surface-temperature maps reveal the existence of widespread surface and near-surface cryogenic regions that extend beyond the boundaries of persistent shadow. The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) struck one of the coldest of these regions, where subsurface temperatures are estimated to be 38 kelvin. Large areas of the lunar polar regions are currently cold enough to cold-trap water ice as well as a range of both more volatile and less volatile species. The diverse mixture of water and high-volatility compounds detected in the LCROSS ejecta plume is strong evidence for the impact delivery and cold-trapping of volatiles derived from primitive outer solar system bodies.

Journal Science – LRO-LAMP Observations of the LCROSS Impact Plume

On 9 October 2009, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) sent a kinetic impactor to strike Cabeus crater, on a mission to search for water ice and other volatiles expected to be trapped in lunar polar soils. The Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) ultraviolet spectrograph onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) observed the plume generated by the LCROSS impact as far-ultraviolet emissions from the fluorescence of sunlight by molecular hydrogen and carbon monoxide, plus resonantly scattered sunlight from atomic mercury, with contributions from calcium and magnesium. The observed light curve is well simulated by the expansion of a vapor cloud at a temperature of ~1000 kelvin, containing ~570 kilograms (kg) of carbon monoxide, ~140 kg of molecular hydrogen, ~160 kg of calcium, ~120 kg of mercury, and ~40 kg of magnesium.

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