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

Science  22 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6003, pp. 479-482
DOI: 10.1126/science.1187726

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Abstract

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.

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