The travels of Moon’s scarce surface water


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An analysis of data from one of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s (LRO) instruments have allowed scientists to map the movements of the scarce water on the lunar surface.

Up until the last decade or so, scientists thought the Moon was arid, with any water existing mainly as pockets of ice in permanently shaded craters near the poles. More recently, scientists have identified surface water in sparse populations of molecules bound to the lunar soil, or regolith. The amount and locations vary based on the time of day. This water is more common at higher latitudes and tends to hop around as the surface heats up.

…Water molecules remain tightly bound to the regolith until surface temperatures peak near lunar noon. Then, molecules thermally desorb and can bounce to a nearby location that is cold enough for the molecule to stick or populate the Moon’s extremely tenuous atmosphere, or “exosphere”, until temperatures drop and the molecules return to the surface.

The quantities we are talking about here are very tiny. This will not be the water that future settlers will depend on. Instead, it will be those pockets of ice in the permanently shaded craters.

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2 comments

  • Max

    This is promising, although it may not seem like much, there’s a good chance that there will be a permafrost below the surface.
    Heat, once lost, it is difficult to generate. The moon experiences 14 days of 300° below zero temperatures that will penetrate deep. 14 days of increasing temperatures to peek at 250° Will promote sublimation from the warmer surface to the colder spots below the surface and shadows. Any frost collected during the night has a good chance of being sequestered to a permanent cold location. This means that a structure like a tent or a parking garage can be an artificial cool place that future settlers can collect ice with no effort. It can even be automated. It may also be a severe problem for the future settlement… heaters under outdoor equipment will be needed to prevent equipment from being frozen to the ground…
    A fresh meteor impact or a deep core sample will tell quite a story.
    Evidence indicates that a nearby supernova filled our solar system with clouds of dust and gases long ago, that may have caused our climate to take a sudden change that produced a series of ice ages, where there were none before.
    In theory, dust blocking the suns light/energy will allow gases to freeze on all gravitational bodies covering comets, mars, and the moons with water, ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide. Similar to Jupiter’s moon Europa which is too far from the sun to melt. A deep core sample will reveal much of our solar systems history.
    Would also explain water flowing on Mars, just to boil in the near vacuum, then evaporate and escape into space before oceans formed. There is strong evidence, that the Z-man has noted many times before, that Mars may have a deep layer of permafrost.
    The martian ice caps are the melting remanence of a once ice world, The same planet altering catastrophe that forever changed “our” planet collapsing our thick atmosphere and raising our ocean level hundreds of feet, covering the land masses with ice and snow. (A world covered in water… Noah’s flood?)
    That much new mass added to our planet would have changed our orbit, moving us further from the sun. May also be a factor In why we had so many reoccurring ice ages.

  • It not hard to understand why there is almost no water on the moon. It falls to Earth just as Aristotle observed.

    It’s amazing how obvious everything is once you reject the master delusion

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