[ RadSafe ] Article: Radon found on moon

John Jacobus crispy_bird at yahoo.com
Mon Nov 13 15:16:37 CST 2006

>From PhysicsWeb at
See the next-to-last paragraph

Moon’s surface is alive and gassing
10 November 2006

The moon's surface is far more active than previously
thought; according to researchers in the US, who claim
that gases released from deep beneath the surface
continue to shape the lunar landscape. This appears to
defy conventional wisdom that the surface of the moon
has been unaffected by internal processes for the past
billion years (Nature 444 184).

Geologists Peter Schultz and Carlé Pieters of Rhode
Island’s Brown University and Matthew Staid of the
Planetary Science Institute in Arizona focused on a
D-shaped area on the moon called the Ina structure,
which was first discovered in images from the Apollo
lunar missions of 1972. The Apollo images show that
Ina contains unusually rough terrain that should have
been smoothed out over the last billion years by the
constant bombardment of space debris. The Apollo data
also reveals that the region has very few meteor
craters compared to other parts of the moon. These
observations have led Schultz and colleagues to
conclude that Ina is “exceedingly young” at several
million years old. This is backed up by optical
spectroscopy measurements made by the Clementine space
probe in 1994, which show that Ina has a
highly-reflective surface indicative of very recent

Ina’s surface could be very young because it has been
modified by periodic releases of gas from ancient
faults within the moon’s surface, say the scientists.
These explosive events blow off the lunar soil,
obliterating meteor craters and exposing fresh and
highly-reflective material. 

The researchers believe that a relic of this gas may
have already been detected by the Apollo missions,
which found high levels of radioactive polonium near
Ina. This means that radon gas was present in that
region in the past 60 years, suggesting that
outgassing is an ongoing process. 

Schultz said that there are at least four other
locations where outgassing could have disturbed the
lunar surface. The upcoming Lunar Reconnaissance
Orbiter, Chandrayan, and SELENE lunar missions (from
the US, India and Japan respectively), should provide
more information regarding the distribution of
outgassing regions and the frequency of such events.

"Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, 
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, 
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" 

>From "The New Collossus" by Emma Lazarus

-- John
John Jacobus, MS
Certified Health Physicist
e-mail:  crispy_bird at yahoo.com

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