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Published December 1, 1967 | public
Journal Article

Chondritic Meteorites and the Lunar Surface


The landing dynamics of and soil penetration by Surveyor I indicated that the lunar soil has a porosity in the range 0.35 to 0.45. Experiments with Surveyor III's surface sampler for soil mechanics show that the lunar soil is approximately incompressible (as the word is used in soil mechanics) and that it has an angle of internal friction of 35 to 37 degrees; these results likewise point to a porosity of 0.35 to 0.45 for the lunar soil. Combination of these porosity measurements with the already-determined radar reflectivity fixes limits to the dielectric constant of the grains of the lunar soil. The highest possible value is about 5.9, relative to vacuum; a more plausible value is near 4.3. Either figure is inconsistent with the idea that the lunar surface is covered by chondritic meteorites or other ultrabasic rocks. The data point to acid rocks, or possibly vesicular basalts; carbonaceous chondrites are not excluded.

Additional Information

© 1967 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received 17 August 1967. Supported by Jet Propulsion Lab.-Calif. Inst. Technol. contract 69811. We thank L. D. Jaffe for assistance and support, and T. Hagfers for consultations.

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