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New evidence for water on the Moon
Posted: Thu, Sep 24, 2009, 7:57 AM ET (1157 GMT)
Data from three spacecraft have turned up new evidence of water ice on the Moon, according to papers to be published in the latest issue of the journal Science. The data suggests that water molecules and hydroxyl ions may be widespread on the lunar surface, and not just concentrated in permanently-shadowed craters in polar regions as previously believed. The amount of water in the lunar regolith is still very small: one ton of regolith scraped from the surface would contain only about one liter of water. The observations come from three spacecraft, including flybys of the Moon by the Cassini and Deep Impact spacecraft and a NASA instrument on India's Chandrayaan-1 orbiter. The findings were originally scheduled to be announced Thursday afternoon at a NASA press conference tied with the publication of this week's issue of Science, but an embargo on the papers was lifted by the journal late Wednesday when information about the discovery entered the public domain.
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