« World's Largest Radio Telescope to be Built Could Reveal Important Information About Dark Matter | Main | Mariner 10 is in a new resonant state that swings it by Mercury once every Earth year, on April 1st. No Joke! »

April 04, 2011

Metals Found In Moon Water

Water ice was discovered recently at the bottom of a crater near the moon's south pole. The water was found with metallic elements like magnesium, mercury, calcium, and a little bit of silver. Sodium was recently added to the mixture of the discovery.

These recent discoveries are extremely crucial, because significant deposits of water on the moon were not thought to exist, or to be extremely rare. As we've learned in class, intense asteroid bombardment, the Sun's radiation, and weak gravity have left the moon with almost no atmosphere. The surface is extremely dry and barren. However, due to the moon's angle to the Sun, scientists were able to theorize that deep craters near the lunar poles would be in constant shadow, and thus be very cold. These craters would be able to trap ice.

A satellite that landed on the moon in 2009 revealed that a large amount of water in fact exists in this region, along with these trace amounts of metallic elements among others.

Recently, surprisingly large amounts of sodium were discovered amongst this mixture, baffling scientists as to where this element could have possibly come from.

Interesting find, especially considering we're now learning about the necessities of life to form. The water's there; wonder if there's a chance that any traces of organic compounds or amino acids might exist in/around the water. What does this mean for the possibilities of life? Especially sine the moon is so desolate?

Read more here:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LCROSS/news/lunar-water-metal.html

Posted by kailjoyb at April 4, 2011 01:50 AM

Comments

The salt could have come from comets or from the solar wind and could have been frozen in the dark depths of craters that are permanently shadowed.
Humans and many other organisms on Earth need salt to live. Salt plays an important role in the nervous system, in regulating blood pressure, in enzymatic reactions, and in other processes.
This salt and water could mean the possibility of life on the moon, or could lead to a better understanding of which other moons or planets could be habitable (which could have salt and how it could have arrived there).

Posted by: stoneswt at April 4, 2011 05:23 PM

Is this the thing that the professor was talking about in class where NASA told everyone to look at the moon because something big was going to happen, but then their rocket went down into a cave? Regardless, that is really interesting. Its amazing to learn about how much the tilt of an object effects it! Do you think they would have found water ice on the moon if its tilt was different or do you think that the craters depth was a bigger component?

Posted by: ninagav at April 5, 2011 01:09 AM

Hmmm... I don't believe this is the same thing. From the sounds of it, this was more like an actual mission. The story told in class sounded like NASA trying to create some spectacular explosion to boost their ego. I don't believe they're the same, but I don't know enough about the story told in class to be sure.

Posted by: kailjoyb at April 5, 2011 01:58 AM

No, this is not the same thing the Professor commented on.

Though the discovery of water ice is important, I wonder if, like other worlds with water ice, the other factors necessary for life are lacking. There is no geological activity, no volcanism, and it seems as if all of these processes ceased to exist billions of years ago. Because the moon is so reachable, however, I would expect scientists to thoroughly research this exciting possibility.

Posted by: hartadam at April 5, 2011 05:06 PM

The mission I talked about in class was LCROSS, which is the same mission they talk about here in this article. Good catch.

Keep in mind that while it was not the best impact every seen, it still returned some good science.....including the confirmation of water (ice) on the Moon.
http://blogs.sciencemag.org/newsblog/2009/10/lcross-impact-boom-or-bust.html
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LCROSS/

Posted by: christoq at April 6, 2011 06:33 PM

Login to leave a comment. Create a new account.