. Moon News .

Titanium treasure found on Moon
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Oct 7, 2011

A new map of the Moon has revealed an abundance of titanium ore that is up to 10 times richer than on Earth, a finding that could one day lead to a lunar mining colony, astronomers said on Friday.

The discovery was made thanks to a camera aboard the US Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which swept the surface of the Moon, scrutinising it in seven different light wavelengths.

Mark Robinson of Arizona State University, who presented the research at a conference in Nantes, western France with Brett Denevi of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, sifted through the data for telltale jumps in the ratio of ultra-violet to visible light.

They established this signature thanks to rock samples brought back to Earth by Apollo 17 astronauts in 1972 and images of the area around the mission's landing site by the Hubble space telescope.

"Looking up at the Moon, its surface appears painted with shades of grey, at least to the human eye," explained Robinson.

"But with the right instruments, the Moon can appear colourful.

"The maria [lunar plains] appear reddish in some places and blue in others.

"Although subtle, these colour variations tell us important things about the chemistry and evolution of the lunar surface. They indicate the titanium and iron abundance, as well as the maturity of a lunar soil."

Titanium is as strong as steel but nearly half as light, which makes it a highly desired -- and also very expensive -- metal.

On Earth, titanium is found, at the very most, in around one percent of similar types of ore. But the new map found abundances in the lunar maria that range from about one percent to 10 percent, the conference organisers said in a press release. In the lunar highlands, abundance was around one percent.

The meeting gathers, for the first time, members of the European Planetary Science Congress and the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences.

The find offers a double potential bounty, they said.

"Lunar titanium is mostly found in the mineral ilmenite, a compound containing iron, titanium and oxygen," they said.

"Future miners living and working on the Moon could break down ilmenite to liberate these elements.

"In addition, Apollo data shows that titanium-rich minerals are more efficient at retaining particles from the solar wind, such as helium and hydrogen. These gases would also provide a vital resource for future human inhabitants of lunar colonies."

Related Links
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

NASA's Moon Twins Going Their Own Way
Pasadena CA (JPL) Oct 07, 2011
NASA's Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL)-B spacecraft successfully executed its first flight path correction maneuver Wednesday, Oct. 5. The rocket burn helped refine the spacecraft's trajectory as it travels from Earth to the moon and provides separation between itself and its mirror twin, GRAIL-A. The first burn for GRAIL-A occurred on Sept. 30. "Both spacecraft are alive ... read more

Tracing the Canals of Mars

Mars Science Laboratory Meets its Match in Florida

NASA Mars Rovers Win Popular Mechanics 'Breakthrough' Award

The Strange Attraction of Gale Crater

Piecing together a global colour map of Saturn's largest moon

Saturn's Geyser Moon Enceladus Shows off for NASA's Cassini

Enceladus Weather Includes Snow Flurries

Saturn Moon Enceladus Spreads Its Influence

Spinning hourglass object may be the first of many to be discovered in the Kuiper belt

Dwarf Planet Mysteries Beckon to New Horizons

The PI's Perspective: Visiting Four Moons, in Just Four Years, for All Mankind

Citizen Scientists Discover a New Horizons Flyby Target

Tenuous ozone layer discovered in Venus' atmosphere

Venus Weather Not Boring After All

Japan test fires Venus probe engine

Venus scientists see research 'bias'

RADA Selected for a SAR Development Program

World's highest webcam brings Everest to Internet

APL Builds On Earth Science Success With New Hosted Payload Proposal

Arctic Sea Ice Continues Decline, Hits Second Lowest Level

Russia to abandon rocket booster work

Pee power: Urine-loving bug churns out space fuel

NASA Tests Deep Space J-2X Rocket Engine at Stennis

New packaging for old US rocket

Boosters Gave Fiery Muscle to Shuttle Launches

NASA Uses MicroStrain Sensors to Monitor Vibroacoustic Shock During Shuttle Launches

Tracking infinity and beyond

Teams Practice Lifting Shuttles at Airports

DLR ROKVISS robotic arm returns from space

Commercial space deliveries 'within months': NASA

Private US capsule not to dock with ISS

Crew safely returns to Earth after crash


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement