Moon's rich surface contains silver, carbon dioxide, say scientists
The surface of the moon contains not just water, but a rich mix of elements, including silver and carbon dioxide, astronomers said Thursday.
The findings to be published in the journal Science come from an analysis of data from the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) experiment that crashed into the moon last year, DPA reported.
Data from the experiment had already shown water is even more abundant on the moon's craters than expected.
Scientists said Thursday they had found light hydrocarbons, sulfur-bearing species, and carbon dioxide in the plume of dust kicked up by the crashing craft.
They have also been able to estimate more thoroughly the amount of water in the crater, which they believe makes up about 5.6 per cent of the mass in the crater.
The dramatic experiment crashed the LCROSS spacecraft into the moon, sending a huge plume of dust 10 kilometres upward to gather data about ice that was suspected to be hidden in the perpetually dark lunar craters.
Major telescopes around the world were aimed at the Cabeus crater on the moon's south pole to capture data from the dust plume.
The rocket's impact was designed to replicate that of the large, natural asteroids that slam into the moon several times a month.
The NASA probe targeted a 100-kilometre wide, 4-kilometre deep crater and was timed to strike when lighting conditions are ideal for observing the impact. The 585-kilogram craft created an impact crater about 2 metres deep.