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Water Discovered in Moon Samples
Water has been found conclusively for the first time inside ancient moon samples brought back by Apollo astronauts. The discovery may force scientists to rethink the lunar past and future, although uncertainty remains about how much water exists and whether future explorers could extract it.
"This really appears to have changed the rules of the game," said Robin Canup, astrophysicist and director of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo., who was not part of the team that made the discovery. "The assumption has been that the moon is dry."
At 9:28 p.m. (EST) on January 6, 1998, Lunar Prospector (LP) blasted off to the Moon aboard a Lockheed Martin solid-fuel, three-stage rocket called Athena II. It was successfully on its way to the Moon for a one-year, polar orbit, primary mission dedicated to globally mapping lunar resources, gravity, and magnetic fields, and even outgassing events.
EUREKA! ICE FOUND AT LUNAR POLES
The Prospector Mission team announced in a press conference on March 5th that the tiny, low budget craft has found the answer to one of the most hotly debated questions in lunar science. Prospector HAS found somewhere between 10 to 300 million tons of water-ice scattered inside the craters of the lunar poles. Not only was ice found--as expected--in the Aitken Basin of the lunar South Pole, but also in the craters of the North. To many's surprise, Prospector detected nearly 50% more water ice in the North than in the South.
Saal's group examined lunar samples brought back from the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s. The glass beads range in color from green to yellow-brown to red, depending on their elemental chemistry.
Such beads formed from droplets of molten lava that spewed from fire fountains reaching down deep within the primitive lunar interior. Saal's group measured the beads' elemental makeup to ensure they came from lunar volcanic activity and not from the impact event that formed the moon.
Originally posted by LateApexer313
What I found interesting is how much we are STILL learning from the samples that came back from the moon 40 some odd years ago as our technology to study them increases!