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Walls of Lunar Crater May Hold Patchy Ice, LRO Radar Finds

Small patches of ice could make up at most five to ten percent of material in walls of Shackleton crater.
Scientists using the Mini-RF radar on NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) have estimated the maximum amount of ice likely to be found inside a permanently shadowed lunar crater located near the moon's South Pole. As much as five to ten percent of material, by weight, could be patchy ice, according to the team of researchers led by Bradley Thomson at Boston University's Center for Remote Sensing, in Mass.

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 Detailed Characterisation of Shackleton Crater

NLSI recently reported that NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft had returned data that indicated ice may make up as much as 22 percent of the surface material in Shackleton crater. Here we report in more detail on the paper by NLSI's Brown/MIT team, Zuber et al. (2012). Constraints on the volatile distribution within Shackleton crater at the lunar south pole. Nature, 486, 378­381.
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 Researchers Estimate Ice Content of Crater at Moon's South Pole

Video made using LRO data showing the illumination of Shackleton crater, a 21-km-diameter structure situated adjacent to the Moon's south pole. The resolution is 30 meters per pixel. Frames are every hour from 01-Jun-2012 to 30-Jun-2012.
The crater, named after the Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, is two miles deep and more than 12 miles wide. Like several craters at the moon's south pole, the small tilt of the lunar spin axis means Shackleton crater's interior is permanently dark and therefore extremely cold.



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