Ice on the Moon?

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Ice on the Moon? – Listening Practice

Scientists from NASA and major universities say the glow from a very cold crater on the moon could indicate the presence of ice.


At first sniff, the latest from NASA sounds really, really exciting.  

KOIN: “The moon may not be made of cheese. New research suggests it may have water. ”

KGTV: “Using a laser, scientists found this crater's floor is much brighter than the floor of nearby craters, which suggests there may be ice in it. ”

WTVQ: “... suggesting there may be as much as 100 gallons of ice in it. ”

Scientists at NASA and universities including MIT are looking specifically at a cold crater called the Shackleton crater. They think its unusual glow suggests ice — a kind of “lunar freezer. ”

The Lunar Recon Orbiter went to the moon back in 2009. At first, its mission was to map the surface, but now another task is to figure out why the Shackleton crater is so bright. Why do scientists care? The LA Times’ Amy Hubbard writes...

“That trapped water would have its own story to tell ... about the solar system, comets and asteroids, and how things have changed over time, the scientist said. ... Then there's the issue of how it sparks visions of extended missions to the moon. ”

That’s because it’s pretty expensive to transport water from Earth. Then again, Ars Technica’s Kyle Niemeyer says, don’t get too excited.

“Unfortunately for future lunar colonists, high-resolution observations of the crater reported in Nature show that little, if any, ice is actually located there. ”

He notes, the authors themselves even suggest an alternate explanation:

“... the crater floor is brighter than the rim and surrounding areas because it is protected from micrometeorite impacts, which weather and darken the surface. ”


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