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Ice patches seen on Earth's moon
News story originally written on December 2, 1996
Radar images of the Moon's surface taken by American Defense Departments's
Clementine lunar probe have pointed to the possibility of finding water on
the Moon. The images of the Moon's south pole region show a patch of
about 16 feet thick and roughly the size of four football fields.
One theory suggests that the source of ice was a comet which hit the Moon's
some 3.6 billion years ago. Water from the icy comet was collected in the bottom
the crater where temperatures fall as low as -230 C. Because moon has no
comets do not burn up as they approach its surface.
impact with the Moon's surface, gaseous matter from comets hangs around as a
molecules from this cloud get trapped in extreme cold regions, finally
ice. The scientist now theorize that vapor from comet impacts drifted towards
where it got trapped in extreme cold and turned into ice.
The discovery was made two years ago, but was hushed until now as the data were
evidence of water was collected by a satellite designed to test
tracking and intercepting hostile missiles. The Clementine mission used the Moon
as a mock target to test missile sensor equipment, but during its two-month
lunar orbit it collected 1.8 million images of over 99.9 per cent of the Moon's
surface. Six visits to the equatorial region of the Moon by Apollo spacecraft turned up
no trace of water. Twelve astronauts, all from the U.S., have walked on the
the moon, which is about 239,000 miles from the Earth.
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