technology-news

India's Chandrayaan-1 helps NASA find water on moon

Washington, Aug 29 : Using data from instruments aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, scientists have found evidence of water locked in mineral grains on the surface of the moon from an unknown source deep beneath the surface.


Using US space agency NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument on the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) spacecraft, scientists remotely detected magmatic water, or water that originates from deep within the moon's interior, on the surface of the moon.

The findings of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) funded research, published in Nature Geoscience, represent the first detection of this form of water from lunar orbit, the agency said.

Earlier studies had shown the existence of magmatic water in lunar samples returned during the Apollo programme, NASA said in a media release.

M3 imaged the lunar impact crater Bullialdus, which lies near the lunar equator. Its central peak is made up of a type of rock that forms deep within the lunar crust and mantle when magma is trapped underground.

"This rock, which normally resides deep beneath the surface, was excavated from the lunar depths by the impact that formed Bullialdus crater," said Rachel Klima, a planetary geologist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland.

"Compared to its surroundings, we found that the central portion of this crater contains a significant amount of hydroxyl -- a molecule consisting of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom -- which is evidence that the rocks in this crater contain water that originated beneath the lunar surface," Klima said.

In 2009, M3 provided the first mineralogical map of the lunar surface and discovered water molecules in the polar regions of the moon.

This water is thought to be a thin layer formed from solar wind hitting the moon's surface. Bullialdus crater is in a region with an unfavourable environment for solar wind to produce significant amounts of water on the surface.

The detection of internal water from orbit means scientists can begin to test some of the findings from sample studies in a broader context, including in regions that are far from where the Apollo sites are clustered on the near side of the moon, NASA said.

For many years, researchers believed that the rocks from the moon were bone-dry and any water detected in the Apollo samples had to be contamination from Earth, it said.

--IANS (Posted on 29-08-2013)

technology-news headlines

New groundbreaking technique may help cure diseases by 'editing' DNA

Ancient Antarctica was as warm as today's California coast

Domesticated chili pepper originated in Central-east Mexico

Neanderthals carried more copies of potentially detrimental mutations

'Upside-down planet' reveals new method for studying binary star systems

Learn why homo sapiens survived when others could not

New material prevents plastic from ageing

Know if you are an app addict

Animals with bigger brain size more intelligent

Now, a detector to distinguish 'sour' oil from 'sweet'

UV lamp of the future is here

Shrimp-inspired material to make airplanes stronger

Quick Links: Goa | Munnar | Pondicherry | Free Yearly Horoscope '2014

Comments

Your e-mail:


Your Full Name:


Type verification image:
verification image, type it in the box

Message:

Back to Top