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Japanese lunar explorer fails to find ice on Moon

Posted on Tuesday, October 28 2008 @ 06:22:30 CET by

A decade ago data from a NASA lunar explorer suggested there may be ice water in craters at the Moon's south pole but new observations by the Japanese lunar explorer satellite KAGUYA (SELENE) indicate that there likely aren't any exposed water ice deposits on the Moon:
The Pentagon's Clementine lunar orbiter (1994) gave positive indications of water ice in one of the cold depressions called Shackleton crater, some scientists think. Others have disputed this interpretation because Earth-based radar of that area reflected a signal more indicative of rock than ice.

New images of Shackleton taken by the Japanese lunar explorer satellite KAGUYA (SELENE) support the view that there likely aren't any exposed water ice deposits in the crater.

The images were made during lunar mid-summer, when enough sunlight is scattered off the upper inner wall of the crater to provide faint illumination of the inside of the crater.

Junichi Haruyama of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and his team analyzed the images and data. They suggest that temperatures in the crater are less than -297 degrees Fahrenheit (-183 degrees Celsius), certainly cold enough to hold ice. But the images reveal no conspicuous brightness that would indicate a patch of pure water ice.
Source: Space.com



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