McMath‐Pierce telescope observed sodium (Na) emission from LCROSS impact on October 9, 2009.When the Lunar Crater Observing and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) impacted Cabeus crater on October 9th, it pitched up frozen water along with some sodium, astronomers reported today.

According to the LCROSS team, the impact event pitched up about 660 pounds of water frozen on the bottom of the crater. NLSI researcher R. M. Killen at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center reported that the plume also contained about 3.3 pounds of sodium chloride.

In the Geophysical Research Letters journal, the team reports observations of the strike from the McMath‐Pierce telescope in Arizona, which revealed some chemical spectra data from the plume.

“Further analysis is required to determine the origin of the (sodium) and water at the lunar poles,” say the authors, but they suspect the sodium was chemically mixed with other volatile elements within the crater’s water ice, and liberated into free sodium only by the 1,832 degree-Fahrenheit heat of the LCROSS impact.

Read the full journal article for more detailed information.

Posted by: Soderman/NLSI Staff

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