Friday, September 17, 2010

New Insights Into the Moon's Geologic Complexity

The moon is more geologically complex than previously thought, scientists report Sept. 17 in two papers published in the journal Science. Their conclusion is based on data from the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), an unmanned mission to comprehensively map the entire moon. The spacecraft orbits some 31 miles above the moon's surface.

The new data reveal previously unseen compositional differences in the moon's crustal highlands and have confirmed the presence of material surprisingly abundant in silica -- a compound containing the chemical elements silicon and oxygen -- in five distinct lunar regions. For the first time ever, Diviner is providing scientists with global, high-resolution infrared maps of the moon, which are enabling them to make a definitive identification of silicates commonly found within its crust.

No comments:

Post a Comment