New data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests that ice may make up as much as 22 percent of the surface material in Shackleton Crater, located on the moon’s south pole. The uncertainty of science: New data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests that ice may make up as much as 22 percent of the surface material in Shackleton Crater, located on the moon’s south pole.


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The uncertainty of science: New data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests that ice may make up as much as 22 percent of the surface material in Shackleton Crater.

What I find most interesting about this result is that the team leader of this paper, Maria Zuber, was also one of the co-authors of the paper I wrote about two days ago that said there was no water in Shackleton Crater.

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2 comments

  • James Fincannon

    Ignoring a consideration of the validity of the “LEND” paper, but carefully examining what they analyzed, you will find they excluded Shackleton, whether for reasons that were technical or otherwise.

    Specifically, that paper listed the “tested” permanently shadowed regions (PSRs). They state “The set selected for analysis in this study all have areas >100 km2. The list of tested PSRs is presented in Table 1. “ If you examine this Table 1 list, you find 29 South Pole PSRs and 17 North Pole PSRs, which are ALL the PSRs they looked at for that study. But if you look at the list, there is no Shackleton Crater (which has an area of 350 km^2). Also, if you look carefully at the locations, they get no closer than -88.6 deg latitude to the South Pole. They also examine a craters AROUND Shackleton namely Shoemaker, Faustini, Sverdrup and de Gerlache, but not Shackleton. Curious.

    So, apparently they did not specifically state anything about Shackleton Crater.

  • James Fincannon

    One other minor point regarding the very nice Zuber paper. I still do not have the Nature article so that I may confirm my assessment, but from what was stated, there were 5 million measurements. “Measurements” translates to laser shots that bounced from the crater surface. The laser beam is 5 meters in diameter, so each “bounce” covers 20 m^2 of the surface. The crater is 21 km in diameter, so the area is 346 km^2 or 346000000 m^2. So to cover the entire crater surface with laser bounces, you need about 346000000/20 or 17,640,000 bounces. With only 5,000,000 bounces, they had only 5,000,000/17,640,000 of coverage or 28 % of the surface lit up with laser light! Those are nice looking images given 62% should be blank. Hopefully they point this out in the paper.

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