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Observations from NASA's Deep Impact mission of the moon's north pole from June 2 to 9, 2009 reveal changes in the amounts of water and hydroxyl. In the week between these datasets, the moon had rotated 90 degrees (one-quarter of a lunar day). For example, a volcanic mare terrain (labeled 'M') is observed in the morning on June 2, but by June 9 is at local noon. Similarly, a highland unit ('H') begins at noon and rotates to evening on June 9.

Deep Impact observed a significant change in the strength of a water and hydroxyl signature as the moon rotated around. The highland unit, for example, has a weaker signal near noon (red) and a stronger signal by evening (blue). Taken together, the data show a systematic change in water loss from morning to noon, recovery through the afternoon, and a return to a steady state by evening. This daytime cycle suggests that hydrogen ions in the solar wind may be a source for re-hydration. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Maryland
Water Abundances Change with Time of Day
This schematic shows the daytime cycle of hydration, loss and rehydration on the lunar surface. In the morning, when the moon is cold, it contains water and hydroxyl molecules. One theory holds that the water and hydroxyl are, in part, formed from hydrogen ions in the solar wind. By local noon, when the moon is at its warmest, some water and hydroxyl are lost. By evening, the surface cools again, returning to a state equal to that seen in the morning. Thus, regardless of location or terrain type, the entire surface of the moon is hydrated during some part of the lunar day. This theory is based on data from NASA's Deep Impact mission. Credit: University of Maryland/McREL
Daytime Water Cycle on the Moon
Several LROC NAC sequences were acquired looking across the illuminated limb to quantify scattered light. Not only were these excellent engineering test images but they also presented spectacular oblique views across the lunar surface. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University
Commissioning Sequences Pave the Way
Milichius A is a Copernican-aged crater found in the middle of Mare Insularum (upper left). There are many different sizes of impact craters in this view, from 9 km in diameter (Milichius A) all the way down to craters that are just a few meters across. The
Milichius A
The ejecta blanket and rim of Timocharis crater in southeastern Mare Imbrium. Image width is 7.2 km. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University
Timocharis Crater
First look at Apollo 12 landing site, the Lunar Module descent stage, Experiment package (ALSEP) and Surveyor 3 spacecraft are all visible along with astronaut tracks (unmarked arrows). Image is 824 meters wide, north up. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University
First Look: Apollo 12 and Surveyor 3
Very young impact crater in Balmer basin. The dark streamers are impact melt splashes thrown out during the crater formation, image 1302 meters wide. High resolution image Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University
Recent Impact!
Perspective view, LROC image, and DEM. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Ohio State University
First LROC Stereo Results
Synthetic perspective view looking south from the Apollo 16 landing area, topography is rendered naturally (no vertical exaggeration). Credit: NASA/GSFC/Ohio State University
First LROC Stereo Results
Image of the crater Erlanger (87 N, 28.6 E; 10 km diameter), the target crater for our Bi-Static observations. Mini-SAR images suggest unusual scattering properties of the crater interior compared with its exterior. LROC Narrow Angle Camera image. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University
Image of the crater Erlanger
Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University
Stream of Craters
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has returned its first imagery of the Apollo moon landing sites. The pictures show the Apollo missions' lunar module descent stages sitting on the moon's surface, as long shadows from a low sun angle make the modules' locations evident. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University
Apollo 14 lunar module, Antares.
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