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Water on the Surface of the Moon – Jessica Sunshine (jointly with Astronomy)

Date: Thu. April 15th, 2010, 4:15 pm-5:15 pm
Location: Rockefeller 301

Although the Moon was widely thought to be anhydrous, OH and H2O absorptions were detected on the lunar surface by infrared spectrometers on three different spacecraft. Complimentary data from Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M-cubed; M3) on Chandrayaan-1, the IR spectrometer on Deep Impact, and VIMS on Cassini have mapped widespread hydration at the 0.1 wt% level. The 140 m scale M3 data reveal differences with composition and maturity, while temporal variations in Deep Impact data show the entire surface to be hydrated during some portions of the day. In particular, comparisons between data collected one week (a quarter lunar day) apart show a dynamic process with diurnal changes in hydration, which are consistent with a solar wind origin. These observations have spurred a renewed study of water in lunar samples and of surface interactions with solar wind.

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