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Moon Space

Chandrayaan M3 Instrument Confirms Iron-Bearing Minerals On the Moon 67

Posted by Soulskill
from the that's-no-...-wait-yes-that's-a-moon dept.
William Robinson writes with news that the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), an instrument developed by NASA and sent aboard India's Chandrayaan-1, has confirmed the presence of iron-bearing minerals on the moon. This marks the beginning of an extensive examination of the composition of the lunar surface. "Isro officials said M3 would help in characterising and mapping lunar minerals to ultimately understand the moon's early geological evolution. 'The compositional map that will come out of M3 will have fantastic data on geological formation of the moon,' the official said. Researchers said the relative abundance of magnesium and iron in lunar rocks could help confirm whether the moon was covered by a molten, magma ocean early on in its history. Iron and magnesium will also indicate melting of the moon, if it happened and how it formed later. This metallic element has been found in lunar meteorites, but scientists know little about its distribution in the lunar crust."
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Chandrayaan M3 Instrument Confirms Iron-Bearing Minerals On the Moon

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  • by pecosdave (536896) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @06:13AM (#26240585) Homepage Journal

    exactly what is the canary we take down the shaft with us going to breathe?

  • Would someone go to the moon to extract some minerals? :) Maybe a new trip on the Moon sooner?
    • by peragrin (659227)

      Only if it is oil or the magical element that enables cold fusion. Considering oil comes from dinosaurs so I don't think there is oil there

      • by timmarhy (659436)
        your WRONG ok, the earth is only 6000 years old and oil and coal can be made in 6 weeks! oh and i made paintings of jebus with dinosaurs.
  • WTF????? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IHC Navistar (967161) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @06:39AM (#26240645)

    "William Robinson writes with news that the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), an instrument developed by NASA and sent aboard India's Chandrayaan-1, has confirmed the presence of iron-bearing minerals on the moon. This marks the beginning of an extensive examination of the composition of the lunar surface."

    -As if actually analyzing the actual lunar samples brought back by earlier moon missions wasn't enough.....

    • Re:WTF????? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ianare (1132971) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @07:15AM (#26240735)
      Yeah I didn't get the big deal about it either, until I read this :

      "Obviously many missions before have found iron, but Chandrayaan-1 has reiterated the presence. We believe it is very significant because the mission has already fulfilled one of its objectives, which was to sight minerals."

      ... Ok so now what was the big deal again ?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jerep (794296)

        India obviously wants their share of the moon's resources too. I doubt you want to know if the moon has minerals just to put stats on paper, someone someday is going to mine it.

        I wonder what is going to happen then, will the corporations share the resources or will we get the moon wars?

      • Re:WTF????? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AikonMGB (1013995) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @10:08AM (#26241237) Homepage

        All of the manned missions to the Moon took place in a relatively small area on the near-side. As far as I can tell from the press spiel in the link, M3's mission is to survey the entire surface of the Moon.

        At present there is very little data of any sort regarding the far-side of the Moon. Information on the magnetic and gravitational fields is of particular interest because of its importance for orbital prediction, determination, and manipulation.

        Aikon-

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by DerekLyons (302214)

          All of the manned missions to the Moon took place in a relatively small area on the near-side. As far as I can tell from the press spiel in the link, M3's mission is to survey the entire surface of the Moon.

          All of the manned landing missions surveyed only a small area of the surface, true. But people often forget that the missions included a manned orbiting component - a component that conducted an extensive survey of the entire lunar surface. They carried magnetometers, photographic survey cameras, and a

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Ok so now what was the big deal again

        The full blown mineralogy mapping of moon was never undertaken before, which is being done now. And the first step is to confirm the correct working of instruments before the full mapping is to be believed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As if actually analyzing the actual lunar samples brought back by earlier moon missions wasn't enough.

      They did analyze and found them to be from some desert on earth :P

    • -As if actually analyzing the actual lunar samples brought back by earlier moon missions wasn't enough.....

      This is news because now NASA can say "See!?! I _told_ you these really came from the moon!".

    • by aqk (844307)

      -As if actually analyzing the actual lunar samples brought back by earlier moon missions wasn't enough.....

      (sigh...) You still don't get it, do you?
      It's an outsourcing test.
      "Hello, Houston? This is Bangalore. You can begin turning off your lights now."

      .

  • outsourced? (Score:4, Funny)

    by ionix5891 (1228718) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @07:20AM (#26240753)

    even space exploration is being outsourced to India? discuss

    • yes IRONic.
  • when people we realize we shouldn't mine on the moon simply for the fact it could seriously distort our gravitational forces and throw us into the sun. I mean, it's not like we're not deserving of such a fate. ;P
    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      We can just replace the minerals with garbage of equal mass. TWO PROBLEMS SOLVED.

      Or, we could just strap a ton of garbage into a rocket and shoot it into the sun.

      • by ph3r (1140503)
        You know, that isn't such a bad idea. I'll support it if/when the day comes. :>
    • by cnettel (836611)
      Mining the moon seems like a wise choice, then. The Earth-Luna complex would keep its mass. Mining the asteroids is another thing, though. On the other hand, Earth loses quite a bit of atmosphere, but also gains mini-meteors, so unless we start considering really vast structures, it can safely be ignored.
  • It's a space station!

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @10:11AM (#26241241)

    Anybody ever see "Outland": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outland_(film) [wikipedia.org]?

    Maybe, in the future, someone is planning to send criminal violators of Internet Censorship Laws to an Outland-like mining colony on the Moon. There, for something to do, they can break Moon rocks with sledgehammers, and extract the iron ore from them. The iron ore will be sent down to Earth on the nanotube elevator.

    But I'm thinking, with the lower gravity, the Moon sledgehammers would have to be bigger to have the same force as those on Earth. Extra Credit Freshman Physics Exam question: How much bigger?

    • by durrr (1316311)
      The sledgehammers would be the same size, the contributing acceleration and force from gravity is of lesser significance than what your muscles provide.

      The actual swing part of swinging a sledgehammer would be just as taxing on the moon or in zero G as on earth, carrying it around would be a bit easier however.
    • by Torino10 (1369453)
      A bigger hammer would make it harder to swing, there may be problems with torque if the swingers feet are not attached to the floor
    • by myxiplx (906307)

      No bigger at all. It's not gravity that makes sledgehammers work (you can use them sideways quite happily) - it's acceleration. Or rather the sudden declaration of a rather large weight in very little space.

      Remember, f=ma, and when the space you have to decelerate is so small, a, and consequently f are going to be very large indeed, probably a couple or three orders of magnitude higher than the force you used to accelerate the hammer in the first place.

    • by markk (35828)

      No bigger at all. As long as you swing them the same speed. Weight != momentum. The momentum of the hammer head will be the same. The swing effort will be different though, your force more and you will have to figure out ways to brace yourself or jam your feet better. You will move around more and have worse footing due to the decreased friction. If you ever have actually broken rocks (concrete myself) with a hammer, you know it is in the timing of your swing anyway. You could use a more massive hammer on t

    • of sending prisoners. It would be robots since they do not require O2/water/food.
  • Hmm. Well with iron and woods on the moon, throw in a putter...
  • by Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @11:18AM (#26241529)

    William Robinson writes with news that the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), an instrument developed by NASA and sent aboard India's Chandrayaan-1, has confirmed the presence of iron-bearing minerals on the moon. This marks the beginning of an extensive examination of the composition of the lunar surface.

    "Isro officials said M3 would help in characterising and mapping lunar minerals to ultimately understand the moon's early geological evolution. 'The compositional map that will come out of M3 will have fantastic data on geological formation of the moon,' the official said. Researchers said the relative abundance of magnesium and iron in lunar rocks could help confirm whether the moon was covered by a molten, magma ocean early on in its history. Iron and magnesium will also indicate melting of the moon, if it happened and how it formed later. This metallic element has been found in lunar meteorites, but scientists know little about its distribution in the lunar crust."

    I'm far more interested to hear how Mr. Robinson and his family made it back from Alpha Centauri and did Dr. Smith and the Robot make the return journey with them?

  • Let's bootstrap moon production. Why lug tons of materials up there when we could figure out how to build most of what we want using materials already present on the moon. Leave the expensive task of cargo hauling to components that would cost too much to get the manufacturing equipment there. Let's see if we can get a near self sustaining habitation there before we think of sending more people.
    • If I were Britain, or even the rest of EU, I would skip the part of working on habitats.Britain was talking of extending ISS with a module. Instead, they should buy the modules from Bigelow and focus on various robotics. In particular, I would work on some that can work on the outside of the ISS (floating around; help astronauts), and others that will work the moon/mars. The reason is that those same robots used on moon/mars can be used on Earth. That is also why America should be focusing on that.

      As to c
  • Earth First ! (We'll mine the other planets later...) --poster seen at a mining operation
  • by Wavicle (181176) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @02:29PM (#26242935)

    Cheese contains approximately 2% of your RDA for Iron: http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/7583/2 [nutritiondata.com]

    • by Muad'Dave (255648)
      Are those numbers for Wensleydale [wikipedia.org]? Wallace and Gromit proved [wikia.com] that the moon is made of Wensleydale or Stilton. My own ground-based spectrographic analyses point to Wensleydale.
  • I think the real news is that the M3 is working and is confirming the results of other moon missions. This isn't so much important for double-checking that there really *is* iron on the moon, but more double-checking that the M3 is working and providing correct information. If the M3 sent back information that the moon's surface was composed of cheese-oxide, they'd probably want to recheck their instruments.

    One thing I would like to know is whether this is iron ore that can be processed by a future lunar

    • by DynaSoar (714234)

      > (BTW, I'm basically just spilling the thoughts that I'm sure anyone else is having when they read this stuff

      Like the very next message? Are we perhaps illuminating a Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious?

  • OK, it works (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DynaSoar (714234) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @07:10PM (#26244983) Journal

    Once again, "confirm" is to be taken as "finds the thing we already knew was there", rather than the implied "found, and the data verified". More than 700 kg of lunar material has been returned by Apollo and Luna. We have a very good understanding of the content. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_rock [wikipedia.org]

    The actual main point of TFA is that the NASA device detects what it should if it were working properly, and so should, barring other problems, be able to map the surface in terms of mineral content. If and when it does, that will be news. Saying "it's not broke so far" isn't very newsworthy.

    In the absence of substantive discoveries of its own (which I have no doubt will occur; there's much to learn and the Indian team is quite capable), ISRO tends to sound like the little brother tagging along with the big kids, chattering on about how he's a big kid now too, despite just being there as opposed to actually having done big kid stuff (TFA *is* about a NASA device, after all). In the mean time, the big kids might find it annoying, but you're not doing it for them, so get excited, wave that flag, and have a ball. Heck, I remember Houston breaking into cheers just because Apollo 8 fired its motor for trans-lunar insertion, a far cry from actually making it.

    Patience guys, if you don't have a significant primary discovery all your own in 90 days (for the data; confirmatory analysis may take a while longer), either you're not trying or it broke.

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