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ScienceDaily (June 14, 2010) — Scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory, with colleagues, have discovered a much higher water content in the Moon's interior than previous studies. Their research suggests that the water was preserved from the hot magma that was present when the Moon began to form some 4.5 billion years ago, and that it is likely widespread in the Moon's interior.
The research is published in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of June 14.
"For over 40 years we thought the Moon was dry," remarked lead author Francis McCubbin. "Recently, scientists detected water from Apollo samples on the order of 46 parts per million. We studied two other Apollo samples and a lunar meteorite using secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), which can detect elements in the parts per million range. We combined the measurements with models that characterize how the material crystallized as the Moon cooled. We found that the minimum water content ranged from 64 parts per billion to 5 parts per million -- at least two orders of magnitude greater than previous results."