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Water on moon

  1. May 2, 2006 #1
    I'd like to propose an experiment for finding water on the moon (see third point).

    First point, the evidence: Apollo astronauts commented that the crater Aristarchus is the most volcanic-looking region on the moon. If earth, Venus, and Mars have feature volcanic regions (Hawaii, Beta Regio, Olymus Mons) why not the moon? A volcanic region could be emitting volcanic steam. I have heard of unconfirmed cloud sightings in the Aristarchus region. Volcanic steam would contain salts dissasociated into free sodium and free chlorine. The chlorine quickly disapates into space, leaving the moon with an atmosphere of 99% sodium vapour (at 1/10,000 of earth sea-level air pressure). Where else could a sodium atmosphere come from, since the lunar surface is not hot enough to liquify or gassify sodium? Aristarchus is the whitest region of the moon, could this be from mineral salt deposits?

    Second point, the hypothesis: During lunar night, the surface of the moon cools to below freezing point of water. Any steam released from a volcanic vent will freeze to the ground if it touches the lunar surface. Therefore some of any volcanic steam released should become frost during the lunar night. Morning sunlight will evaporate the frost into a temporary fog.

    Third point, the experiment: Get a telescope with kilometer, or better yet, 100 meter resolution of the lunar surface and hook up videotape equipment. Wait until the Aristarchus region is moving out of night shadow into day sunlight. Video as sunlight terminator moves across region, watching for fog as frost is vaporised. Several taping sessions may be required to record observable fog banks, if the amount of vented steam is small or intermittant. Perhaps Schroder's Rill, near Aristarchus, is the best place to start looking. Is there anyone I can contact who might want to give this a try?
    Last edited: May 2, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2006 #2


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    Finding water on the moon is vital to our ability to establish an outpost. NASA already has a project in the works - the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) - see:
    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2005/14apr_moonwater.htm [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  4. May 4, 2006 #3

    Anyone with a 10+ inch newtonian reflector on a motorized mount could probably try it. The bigger the scope, the better the resolution. IIRC an 8 inch, can in good seeing conditions resolve objects the size of the Coliseum. I suspect however this would not be an effective means of detection, since any emission would probably be much smaller than 100 meters, would require extreme magnification, and would probably be washed out by the bright surface. Wouldn't be hard to try though.

    edit: From Chronos's link it was tried with a satellite crashed into a crater near the south pole, and nothing was detected. This doesn't mean you couldn't detect it in the manner you suggested, but even assuming the water is there, I wouldn't think it likely.
    Last edited: May 4, 2006
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