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Moon’s surface contains silver

Every cloud may not have a silver lining to it, but the moon does. NASA scientists have found what appears to be silver buried under a small layer of moon dust.

india Updated: Oct 22, 2010 12:32 IST

Every cloud may not have a silver lining to it, but the Moon does.

A NASA spacecraft that crashed into the Moon in 2009 has found what appears to be silver in the moon, perhaps buried under a small layer of moon dust, reports New Scientist.

Lead scientist Anthony Colaprete at NASA''s Ames Research Center in California said that apart from reserves of water, they found other chemicals too.

A big surprise was two strong ultraviolet emission lines of silver. Colaprete and his colleagues suspect that the silver might be in a layer of rock buried below the surface.

To create the observed spectral lines, the silver would have to be much more concentrated than the 100 parts per billion measured in rocks returned by the Apollo astronauts.

One theory holds that volatile elements, such as mercury and magnesium, may hop along the moon''s surface one atom at a time until they hit a "cold trap" – such as the permanently shadowed crater LCROSS smashed into – and stick.

Paul Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, cautioned that the spectral lines are not definitive.

"We really need a surface rover mission," he said.

"We can argue about emission spectra from now until doomsday, but I want an on-the-spot measurement before I'll finally believe it."

The find is published in Science.

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