Home > Astronomy, LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter), Moon, Solar System, Spaceflight, Unmanned Spaceflight > Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Spectrometer Detects Helium In Moon’s Atmosphere

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Spectrometer Detects Helium In Moon’s Atmosphere


Scientists using the Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) spectrometer aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) have made the first spectroscopic observations of the noble gas helium in the tenuous atmosphere surrounding the moon.

“The question now becomes, does the helium originate from inside the moon or from an exterior source, such as the solar wind?” says Dr. Alan Stern.

“If we find the solar wind is responsible, that will teach us a lot about how the same process works in other airless bodies,” says Stern.

If spacecraft observations show no such correlation, radioactive decay or other internal lunar processes could be producing helium that diffuses from the interior or that is released during lunar quakes.

During its campaign, LACE also detected the noble gas argon on the lunar surface. Although significantly fainter to the spectrograph, LAMP also will seek argon and other gases during future observations.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LRO/news/helium-detected.html

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