Moon Current Affairs

Scientists create first global map of water on Moon

Scientists from Brown University in US have created first map of water trapped in uppermost layer of Moon’s soil. The  was build using NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper onboard of India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.

The map builds on initial discovery of water and related molecule — hydroxyl (consists of one atom each of hydrogen and oxygen) in lunar soil in 2009. It may prove useful to future lunar explorers.

Water Presence on Moon

The signature of water is present nearly everywhere on lunar surface and not limited to polar regions as it was previously reported. The distribution of waster on moon is largely uniform rather than splotchy. The way in which it is distributed across Moon gives clues about its source.

The amount of water on moon increases toward poles and does not show significant difference among distinct compositional terrains. It reaches a maximum average of around 500 to 750 parts per million (ppm) in higher latitudes, less than what is found in sands of Earth’s driest deserts.

However, its concentrations gradually decrease toward equator. This pattern is consistent with implantation via solar wind from Sun, which can form hydroxyl (OH) and molecular water once emplaced.

Bulk of water mapped in this study can be attributed to solar wind with some exceptions. For example, higher-than-average concentration of water was found in lunar volcanic deposits near Moon’s equator, where water in surrounding soil was scarce. In this case, it is assumed that water comes from deep within Moon’s mantle and erupted to surface in lunar magma rather than coming from solar wind.

The concentration of water also changes over course of lunar day at latitudes lower than 60 degrees, going from wetter in early morning and evening to nearly bone dry around lunar noon. The fluctuation can be as much as 200 ppm.

Tags:

China to send Mini-Ecosystems to the Moon

China is planning to send mini-ecosystems comprising of potato seeds and silkworm eggs to the Moon by next year. The move is aimed at studying how the organisms develop in Moon.

Salient Highlights

The 3-kilogramme mini-ecosystem will be developed by research teams under the leadership of Chongqing University in China.

The mini-ecosystems would be sent to the moon by Chang’e 4 which is scheduled to be launched in 2018.

The potato seeds and silkworm eggs would be placed in an 18-centimetre-tall cylinder. According to the researchers, the silkworms will hatch and create carbon dioxide, while the potato plants will generate oxygen.

The main objective behind this mission is to prepare for future moon landings and possible human inhabitants. China is preparing for a planned mission to the Moon.

In addition, the researchers have decided to live stream the development of plants and insects to the whole world.

Tags:

12