Volcanic deposits may aid lunar outposts

Jan 23, 2008

A U.S. study of radar images of the moon suggests deposits from early lunar volcanoes might be useful to astronauts at lunar stations.

Bruce Campbell and associates at the National Air and Space Museum said ancient volcanic eruptions on the Moon produced deposits of fine-grained, often glass-rich, pyroclastic material. In some places, such as at the Aristarchus Plateau, the deposits can be up to nearly 100 feet thick.

Campbell said the pyroclastics are of interest as possible sources of materials for lunar outposts.

The scientists used longer wavelength radar images from Earth-based radio telescopes that penetrate the mantling layers to "see" underlying terrain and details of the geologic events, including the extent of lava flows that shaped the plateau.

When struck by relatively small meteorites, the lava flows are broken into rocks and mixed into the fine-grained layers above, the researchers said, noting such abundant rocks might complicate the use of the pyroclastics as a resource for future lunar explorers.

The new radar data can be used to identify thick, rock-poor areas of the pyroclastic deposits best suited for resource recovery.

The study is reported in the journal Geology.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Fires in Central Africa During July 2014

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Understanding the planets through volcanoes

May 21, 2014

Billions of years ago, volcanoes sent material from inside planetary bodies to the surface. Subsequent impacts have covered those original deposits. Jennifer Whitten, who receives her Ph.D. in geological ...

Yutu technical problems persist

Feb 24, 2014

The world famous and hugely popular 'Yutu' rover entered its 3rd Lunar night time hibernation period this weekend as planned, but serious technical troubles persist that are hampering science operations Chinese ...

Exploring Mars in the Austrian Alps

Jun 01, 2012

In the largest ice caves on Earth, spacesuits and remote-controlled planetary rovers were for the first time tested in a five-day odyssey in the Alps designed to mimic potential future missions on Mars.

Recommended for you

Scientists stalk coastal killer

just added

For much of Wednesday, a small group of volunteers and researchers walked in and out of the surf testing a new form of surveillance on the biggest killer of beach swimmers - rip currents.

Fires in Central Africa During July 2014

13 hours ago

Hundreds of fires covered central Africa in mid-July 2014, as the annual fire season continues across the region. Multiple red hotspots, which indicate areas of increased temperatures, are heavily sprinkled ...

NASA's HS3 mission spotlight: The HIRAD instrument

23 hours ago

The Hurricane Imaging Radiometer, known as HIRAD, will fly aboard one of two unmanned Global Hawk aircraft during NASA's Hurricane Severe Storm Sentinel or HS3 mission from Wallops beginning August 26 through ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

out7x
1 / 5 (1) Jan 25, 2008
no mention of wavelength used. Depth of penetration? Pyroclastic is a general term of various igneous fragment sizes.