News FocusLunar and Planetary Science Conference

Lucky Glimpses of a Weirdly Wetter Moon

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Science  19 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5972, pp. 1448
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5972.1448-a

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Planetary scientists recently flew a ground-penetrating radar on India's Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter. At the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, they reported a distinctive radar signature from the interiors but not the surroundings of more than 40 small craters in the north polar region. Almost all of the craters are permanently shadowed. That combination, they argued, suggests ice, perhaps as much as 80% or 90% pure. But the Chandrayaan-1 radar is not confirming long-suspect reports of radar detection of massive ice in the south, so most researchers are reserving judgment.