Lots of fascinating news about the Moon from the [LRO]/[LCROSS] missions: /– [Moon Crater Has More Water Than Parts of Earth – SPACE.com] /– [NASA Missions Uncover The Moon’s Buried Treasures – NASA].
> “Seeing mostly pure water ice grains in the plume means water ice was somehow delivered to the moon in the past, or chemical processes have been causing ice to accumulate in large quantities,” said Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS project scientist and principal investigator at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. “Also, the diversity and abundance of certain materials called volatiles in the plume, suggest a variety of sources, like comets and asteroids, and an active water cycle within the lunar shadows.”
Volatiles are compounds that freeze and are trapped in the cold lunar craters and vaporize when warmed by the sun. The suite of LCROSS and LRO instruments determined as much as 20 percent of the material kicked up by the LCROSS impact was volatiles, including methane, ammonia, hydrogen gas, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.
The instruments also discovered relatively large amounts of light metals such as sodium, mercury and possibly even silver. Scientists believe the water and mix of volatiles that LCROSS and LRO detected could be the remnants of a comet impact. According to scientists, these volatile chemical by-products are also evidence of a cycle through which water ice reacts with lunar soil grains.
: http://www.nasa.gov/lro : http://www.nasa.gov/lcross : http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/moon-cabeus-crater-water-101021.html : http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/oct/HQ_10-271_LCROSS_LRO.html