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The Moon is Surrounded by Neon

Illustration of NASA's LADEE spacecraft, which has already impacted the Moon's surface (NASA/GSFC)

Illustration of NASA’s LADEE spacecraft, which has already impacted the Moon’s surface (NASA/Dana Berry)

Finally, we have proof of the moon’s “noble” heritage! Measurements from NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, aka LADEE, have confirmed the long-suspected presence of neon in its exosphere (neon is one of the noble gases — see what I did there?) along with isotopes of argon and helium. The relative concentrations of each of these elements also appears to depend on the time of day, which, on the Moon, lasts 29.5 Earth-days long.

Read the rest of my article on Discovery News here.

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About Jason Major

Jason is a Rhode Island-based graphic designer, photographer, nature lover, space exploration fanatic, and coffee addict. In no particular order.

Posted on September 2, 2015, in The Moon and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Helium? That must be why the Moon can stay in the air for so long … and that the helium concentration fluctuates with the time of day explains why sometimes it’s up in the air, and sometimes not 😉

    More seriously, I really enjoyed reading your article in its entirety – you have a knack for clearly and concisely explaining science in a way that I think most people can readily understand and even relate to, a good quality to have, I think. What I found particularly good about your article was that you raised the point of the effects our interactions with the Moon might have on its fragile exosphere. The question is, now that we know, how will that knowledge guide the various space-capable nations in their future interactions? Is there the possibility of foregoing future landings and lunar base projects until we know for certain what we might be able to do to eliminate the risk of damaging the Moon’s exosphere?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ah, our precious light bulb 🙂

    Like

  3. So moon is a noble , must be very intelligent.

    Like

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