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Water, metals detected in LCROSS lunar impact
Posted: Fri, Oct 22, 2010, 8:32 AM ET (1232 GMT)
LCROSS spacecraft illustration (NASA) A year after NASA's LCROSS spacecraft slammed into a crater near the Moon's south pole, scientists announced Thursday they had detected significant amounts of water, as well as some light metals, in the plume created by the impact. In papers published in the current issue of the journal Science, researchers said analysis of data from the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft detected "mostly pure" water ice grains in the collision plume, indicating that at least some of the ice in the crater may be in deposits that could be readily utilized by future explorers. The water ice makes u about 5.6 percent of the material in the crater, making it twice as wet as the Sahara Desert on Earth. The spacecraft also detected relatively large amounts of several metals, including sodium, mercury, and silver, in addition to volatiles like carbon dioxide and ammonia. That suggests to scientists that the ice in the crater was deposited by a comet impact.
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