Character and Spatial Distribution of OH/H2O on the Surface of the Moon Seen by M3 on Chandrayaan-1

Science  23 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5952, pp. 568-572
DOI: 10.1126/science.1178658

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The search for water on the surface of the anhydrous Moon had remained an unfulfilled quest for 40 years. However, the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) on Chandrayaan-1 has recently detected absorption features near 2.8 to 3.0 micrometers on the surface of the Moon. For silicate bodies, such features are typically attributed to hydroxyl- and/or water-bearing materials. On the Moon, the feature is seen as a widely distributed absorption that appears strongest at cooler high latitudes and at several fresh feldspathic craters. The general lack of correlation of this feature in sunlit M3 data with neutron spectrometer hydrogen abundance data suggests that the formation and retention of hydroxyl and water are ongoing surficial processes. Hydroxyl/water production processes may feed polar cold traps and make the lunar regolith a candidate source of volatiles for human exploration.

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