Carbon dioxide cold traps have been identified on the moon for the first time, following decades of uncertainty that pockets of the frozen gas even existed.
The cold traps that contain solid carbon dioxide would provide a source of energy for future lunar explorers. It also helps scientists to better understand the origins and evolution of other elements such as water.
American scientists discovered that the cold traps were located in permanently shaded areas at the poles where temperatures are consistent at -352° Fahrenheit.
These cold traps cover an average of 78 miles in area, with 31 miles being the Amundsen Crater’s largest. They are located within the same traps as water ice.
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The total area of these cold traps is 78 sq. miles. 31 sq. miles are found in Amundsen Crater. They also belong to the same traps that contain water ice.
The researchers point out that while the existence carbon dioxide coldtraps is not a guarantee of the existence solid carbon dioxide on Mars, this validation does indicate the possibility of future missions discovering carbon dioxide ice.
Although scientists have previously claimed that there are cold traps on the moon’s surface, the latest study shows where these locations and provides a map to help locate each.
To locate the cold traps, the team relied on 11 years worth of temperature data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment.
According to data published in Geophysical Research Letters by AGU, it appears that there are traps in several areas around the lunar southern poles.
After decades of doubt, carbon dioxide cold traps were discovered on the moon. This would provide vital fuel for lunar explorations in the future.
Norbert Schörghofer, a planetary scientist at the Planetary Science Institute and lead author on the study, said in a statement: ‘I think when I started this, the question was, ‘Can we confidently say there are carbon dioxide cold traps on the moon or not?
“I was surprised to find that they are actually there. They could be unable to establish their existence. [they might have been]One pixel is all it takes to make a map, so the surprising thing was finding contiguous areas that are sufficiently cold.
If scientists are able to confirm that the carbon dioxide traps contain solid carbon dioxide, it will change how future lunar exploration is planned.
Researchers shared that frozen gas can be used in steel production as well as in rocket fuel, biomaterials and other applications. These would be crucial for human or robot presence on the moon.
This potential is already attracting interest from both governments and private businesses.
A team of American scientists found the cold traps are in the permanently shadowed regions at the poles of the moon, where temperatures can drop even below those on Pluto – about -352 degrees Fahrenheit
To understand the formation of organic compounds in lunar carbon and to determine what type molecules are possible in such harsh environments, scientists could also use lunar carbon as a tool.
Paul Hayne of the University of Colorado Boulder, who was not part of the research, said the carbon dioxide cold traps may help solve the long-standing problem of where the moon got its water.
This would also lead to how water and other volatiles arrived on Earth.
Hayne stated that these should be sites of high priority to pursue for future landing missions.
“This kind of pinpoints the location you may go on the lunar skin to answer big questions about volatiles and delivery from other parts of the solar system.
WHAT EXAMPLES HAVE BEEN FINDED FOR WATER ON EARTH?
Numerous researchers claim that the moon may contain water, whether it is on its surface, or within its soil.
This discovery may mean that future moon colonies will be able to harvest water from the moon, without needing it transported with them.
Scientists claim that they could convert the hydrogen into oxygen, which can be used to make rocket fuel and oxygen to breath.
In February 2018, a study found by the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado water in the form of OH – a more reactive relative of H2O – all over the lunar surface.
In September 2017, experts created the first map of water and its building blocks trapped in the uppermost portion of the Moon’s soil.
The researchers claimed that the lunar surface is nearly entirely covered by water.
Another study, done in the same month, revealed that more water is stored on the Moon’s surface than previously thought.
The evidence suggests that our satellite natural could have a very large water reservoir.
This discovery confirms that the lunar core is water-rich. It could be used to make future explorations of space possible.