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The Once and Future Moon

Who discovered water on the Moon?

1 Jun 2012, 19:42 UTC
Who discovered water on the Moon?
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A recent article tells how Soviet scientists studying soil samples returned from the Moon in 1976 by the unmanned Luna 24 mission first discovered lunar water. This assertion is based on a paper published in the Russian journal Geokhimiia (vol. 285, p. 285-288, February 1978). The measurement used infrared absorption spectroscopy to look for the [...]

The Luna 24 lander descent stage on the Moon: Wishing Well? (NASA/ASU)
A recent article tells how Soviet scientists studying soil samples returned from the Moon in 1976 by the unmanned Luna 24 mission first discovered lunar water. This assertion is based on a paper published in the Russian journal Geokhimiia (vol. 285, p. 285-288, February 1978). The measurement used infrared absorption spectroscopy to look for the “water band” centered around 2.8 microns, the same technique used recently by several groups to map the water band on the lunar surface regionally from flyby (Cassini and EPOXI) and orbital (Chandrayaan-1) spacecraft. The Soviet paper claimed to detect water at a level of about 0.1 weight percent. This high concentration level of water raised my antennae.
The discovery of significant amounts of water would tell us about lunar processes and history as well as provide evidence ...

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