Satellite News

Satellites are used for a large number of purposes. Common types include military (spy) and civilian Earth observation satellites, communication satellites, navigation satellites, weather satellites, and research satellites.

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NASA scientists have revealed water molecules in the polar regions of the Moon. Instruments aboard three separate spacecraft revealed water molecules in amounts that are greater than predicted, but still relatively small. Hydroxyl, a molecule consisting of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom, also was found in the lunar soil.

"Water ice on the Moon has been something of a divine grail for lunar scientists for a very long time," said Jim Green, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "This surprising finding has come about through the ingenuity, perseverance and international cooperation between NASA and the India Space Research Organization."

"When we say 'water on the Moon,' we are not talking about rivers, oceans or even puddles," explained Carle Pieters, M3's principal investigator from Brown University, Providence, R.I. "Water on the Moon means molecules of water and hydroxyl that interact with molecules of rock and dust specifically in the top millimeters of the Moon's surface.

"With our unlimited spectral range and views over the north pole, we were able to explore the distribution of both water and hydroxyl as a function of temperature, latitude, composition, and time of day," said Jessica Sunshine of the University of Maryland. Sunshine is Epoxi's deputy principal investigator and a scientist on the M3 team. "Our analysis unequivocally confirms the presence of these molecules on the Moon's surface and reveals that the entire surface appears to be hydrated during at least some portion of the lunar day."

The invention of water molecules and hydroxyl on the Moon raises new questions about the origin of "Moon water" and its effect on lunar mineralogy. Answers to these questions will be studied and debated for years to come.

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