Sun Sprinkles Water Everywhere on the Moon

Credit: Lunar and Planetary Institute

Credit: Lunar and Planetary Institute

Spectral evidence indicates that minute quantities of water are present on the surface of the Moon, with water being most abundant at higher latitudes, during dawn and dusk, and sometimes at pyroclastic deposits. Recent work by Joshua Bandfield and his colleagues, however, suggests a more widespread presence of OH/H2O on the Moon than previous thought. They applied an improved physics-based thermal correction method to Chandrayaan-1 Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) near-infrared spectra and re-examined the strength of 3 µm water absorption band. With the new correction they found virtually all of the M3 spectra have a prominent 3 µm feature with little variation regardless of latitude, local time, or surface type.

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