Radar Data Shows Moon Is Dry At Poles

Writing in the current issue of Nature, researchers wrote, “We find that areas of the crater floors at the poles that are in permanent shadow from the Sun, which are potential cold traps for water or other volatiles, do not give rise to strong radar echoes like those associated with thick ice deposits in the polar craters on Mercury”.

The earlier radiation measurements indicative of hydrogen remain unexplained. Further radiation measurements by NASA’s Lunar Prospector are not possible because the probe was deliberately crashed into the lunar surface at the end of its mission. However, ESA’s SMART-1 spacecraft en route to the Moon carries an infrared spectrometer to make further radiation measurements that may shed additional insight into the current puzzle.

One thought on “Radar Data Shows Moon Is Dry At Poles”

  1. Quoting the Ananova article:

    The most detailed radar survey to date has revealed no sign of thick ice deposits at the moon’s shadowy poles.


    The findings, reported in the journal Nature, suggest that any water on the moon is likely to exist as scattered grains or thin layers embedded in rock.

    I don’t think this is the first time Arecibo has been used to try to find these – the other instruments indicate that the hydrogen (most likely combined with oxygen in water) really is there; this just clarifies what form it’s in. Not terribly unexpected but maybe a little disappointing.

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