Among others in the Oceanus Procellarum (dark area top left) uranium has enriched itself on the moon.
Read aloud A new map of the lunar surface shows in unrivaled accuracy where uranium and other rare elements are located on the moon. Accordingly, the radioactive material is found mainly in the Oceanus Procellarum, the largest of the dark Mary on the side facing the earth, and the South Pole Aitken Basin, the largest impact crater. The basis of the new map are measurements of the Japanese space probe Kaguya, which started in September 2007 and hit the lunar surface on 10 June this year. The distribution of elements such as uranium, thorium and potassium is not only interesting for possible future moon missions, but also provides new insights into the origin, history and geology of the moon. During its mission, the Kaguya spacecraft orbited over the lunar surface at an altitude of about 100 kilometers and collected various data. Among them were measurements with a high-power gamma ray spectrometer, with which chemical elements can be detected, identified and their distribution determined. For the new uranium map, the researchers evaluated two series of measurements, which were created between December 2007 and February 2008 and from July to October 2008? a total of about 2, 100 hours.

Accordingly, potassium, thorium, uranium, oxygen, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, calcium, titanium and iron are in the top centimeters of the lunar surface. Some of these elements had already been detected in previous lunar missions. The better resolution of the instruments on Kaguya, however, now allowed a much more precise demarcation between the individual substances and an approximate estimate of the quantities.

The scientists were particularly interested in the distribution of uranium, potassium and thorium. Above all, these three elements seem to be common. They are particularly common in certain areas in the "Sea of ​​Storms", the Oceanus Procellarum, which is located on the left side of the visible side of the moon. Also in the South Pole Aitken basin, which is considered as a possible reservoir of water ice, the radioactive elements seem to have accumulated, while they are rather rare in the high altitudes. This is especially true for the western ridges just above the equator on the side facing away from the earth. How much uranium is there exactly, but scientists can not say yet? For this, the data would have to be further processed and corrected.

Noboyuki Hasebe (Waseda University, Tokyo) et al .: Journal of the Physical Society of Japan, Vol. 78, Suppl. A, p. 18 Naoyuki Yamashita (Waseda University, Tokyo) et al .: Post on the 40th. Lunar and Planetary Science Conference ddp / Ilka Lehnen-Beyel advertisement


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