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Ice deposits discovered at Moon's north pole
Posted: Wed, Mar 3, 2010, 7:20 AM ET (1220 GMT)
Lunar craters with water ice detected by Mini-SAR (NASA) An American instrument on an Indian spacecraft has detected deposits of water ice in portions of craters in the Moon's north polar region, scientists announced Monday. The Mini-SAR synthetic aperture radar instrument, which flew on India's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, detected water ice in permanently shadowed regions of more than 40 small craters, with an estimated 600 million metric tons of ice overall. Scientists had long hypothesized that portions of those craters could serve as cold traps, allowing ice to collect. The discovery adds to other research that has detected traces of water ice in the Moon's polar regions, including water detected by NASA's LCROSS lunar impactor mission last fall. Chandrayaan-1 orbited the Moon for nearly a year in 2008 and 2009, carrying 11 instruments from India, Europe, and NASA.
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