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What about the rest of the LCROSS results?

14 Jul 2016, 18:56 UTC
What about the rest of the LCROSS results?
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A lot of people were excited when LCROSS returned direct evidence of water and water ice on the Moon six years ago, providing strong support for the theory of cold trap volatiles. I've seen numerous posts discussing ISRU and using that result (plus other data) as evidence of the presence of water. What I haven't seen is any mention of the other chemicals that were detected: carbon monoxide, mercury (!) and elemental hydrogen. Water was estimated to make up 5.6% of the crater soil with 155kg detected, meaning mercury made up another 3.5 to 4% with about 100kg detected (at larger uncertainty). Carbon monoxide represented hundreds of kilograms, meaning perhaps 4 to 8%.{{note: Hop pointed out in comments that this paper was corrected. The reported values were overestimated by a factor of 5.5 or so, meaning these volatiles are actually perhaps 0.5-1% by mass each.}} Think about that for a minute... Carbon monoxide is probably more abundant in the cold traps than water, at least in the traps cold enough to freeze CO. Everything I've read suggests that the Moon is almost carbon-free and there is no hope of producing hydrocarbon propellants like methane there. At the same time, millions ...

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