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The behavior of volatiles on the lunar surface

Watson, Kenneth and Murray, Bruce C. and Brown, Harrison (1961) The behavior of volatiles on the lunar surface. Journal of Geophysical Research, 66 (9). pp. 3033-3045. ISSN 0148-0227. doi:10.1029/JZ066i009p03033.

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Volatiles, and water in particular, have been thought to be unstable on the lunar surface because of the rapid removal of constituents of the lunar atmosphere by solar radiation, solar wind, and gravitational escape. The limiting factor in removal of a volatile from the moon, however, is actually the evaporation rate of the solid phase, which will be collected at the coldest points on the lunar surface. We present a detailed theory of the behavior of volatiles on the lunar surface based on solid-vapor kinetic relationships, and show that water is far more stable there than the noble gases or other possible constituents of the lunar atmosphere. Numerical calculations indicate the amount of water lost from the moon since the present surface conditions were initiated is only a few grams per square centimeter of the lunar surface. The amount of ice eventually detected in lunar ‘cold traps’ thus will provide a sensitive indication of the degree of chemical differentiation of the moon.

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Additional Information:Copyright 1961 by the American Geophysical Union. (Manuscript received June 9, 1961; revised June 30, 1961.) This work has been supported in full by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grant NsG 56-60. Contribution 1048, Division of Geological Sciences, California Institute of Technology.
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NASANsG 56-60
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Caltech Division of Geological Sciences1048
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141110-114827859
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Official Citation:Watson, K., B. C. Murray, and H. Brown (1961), The behavior of volatiles on the lunar surface, J. Geophys. Res., 66(9), 3033–3045, doi:10.1029/JZ066i009p03033.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:51509
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:10 Nov 2014 21:01
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 19:12

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