Alpha-Particle Emissivity of the Moon: An Observed Upper Limit

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Science  17 Oct 1969:
Vol. 166, Issue 3903, pp. 370-372
DOI: 10.1126/science.166.3903.370


Measurements made by the moon-orbiting spacecraft Explorer 35 during 1967-1968 show that it is unlikely that the alpha-particle emissivity of the moon is greater than 0.064 per square centimeter per second per steradian and exceedingly unlikely that it is greater than 0.128, these values being respectively 0.1 and 0.2 of the provisional estimates made by Kraner et al. in 1966. This result implies that the abundance of uranium-238 in the outer crust (approximately a few meters thick) of the moon is much less than that typical of the earth's lithosphere, though it is consistent with the abundance of uranium-238 in terrestrial basalt or in chondritic meteorites.

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