Moon: Cold carbon traps found for the first time – Closer to human presence on the moon

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After decades of uncertainty, scientists in the US announced that they have for the first time confirmed the existence of cold traps carbon dioxide on its surface Moon. The traps probably contain solid carbon dioxide, which could be used in the future to support presence of robots and humans on the moon.

More specifically, in the permanently shaded areas at the poles of the Moon oTemperatures fall below the temperature in the coldest regions of Pluto, which allows the creation of carbon dioxide traps. At these points the carbon dioxide molecules can freeze and remain in solid form even when temperatures rise to their peak during the lunar summer. Only small amounts of frozen carbon dioxide are estimated to be lost in space during a short summer period on the moon.

Future human or robotic missions may utilize this solid dioxide – provided its presence is confirmed on the spot – to production of rocket fuel or materials necessary for a long stay on the moon (eg for steel production). Such icy carbon dioxide traps have been predicted by planetary scientists for years, but now for the first time their existence is confirmed and mapped, as transmitted by APE-MPE.

Moon: “Coal could be used to make fuel for rockets, biomaterials and steel”

The researchers, led by planetary scientist Norbert Serghofer of the Arizona Institute of Planetary Science and published in the American Geophysical Research Letters of the American Geophysical Association (AGU), analyzed data from NASA.

“After water, coal is probably the most important resource on the Moon. It could be used for production of rocket fuel, but also for bio-materials and for steel. “If we have to bring coal or fuel from Earth, that will skyrocket the cost of a permanent presence on the moon.”

The total area of ​​the carbon dioxide traps is estimated at 204 square kilometers, with the largest area, inside the Amundsen crater, occupying around 82 sq.km. In these areas the temperatures remain constant below minus 213 degrees Celsius. By comparison, icy water traps on the Moon are estimated to cover a much larger area almost 14,000 square kilometers.

Here you will see the relevant scientific publication.

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