Lunar Metal

Life on Earth would not be possible without the Moon; it keeps our planet’s axis of rotation stable, which controls seasons and regulates our climate. The action of the Moon on tides (not just oceanic tides but magma inside the planet) helps keep the interior of the planet hot and the tectonic plates managing carbon build-up so that we don’t end up like Venus.

New research suggests the Moon’s subsurface is more metal-rich than previously thought. A study published July 1, in Earth and Planetary Science Letters sheds new light on the composition of the dust found at the bottom of the Moon’s craters. Led by Essam Heggy, research scientist of electrical and computer engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and co-investigator of the Mini-RF instrument onboard NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), the team members of the Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF) instrument on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission used radar to image and characterize this fine dust. The researchers concluded that the Moon’s subsurface may be richer in metals (i.e. Fe and Ti oxides) than scientists had believed.

According to the researchers, the fine dust at the bottom of the Moon’s craters is actually ejected materials forced up from below the Moon’s surface during meteor impacts. When comparing the metal content at the bottom of larger and deeper craters to that of the smaller and shallower ones, the team found higher metal concentrations in the deeper craters.

A lot of effort will be expended determining how much metal is inside of the Moon in the upcoming mission – as the US returns to the Moon. I have no idea whether mining the Moon would ever be profitable when you consider how much it costs to get there and send a kilogram of material back. But who knows?

Juno

A few of the more recently released photos from Juno’s fly-by of Jupiter. Even though the spacecraft visited in 2016-17, some photos only reached the NASA website this year. This set was taken looking toward Jupiter’s south pole.

And no photos of Jupiter would be complete without including one of the Great Red Spot (an equatorial storm).

Comet Neowise has been captured on camera streaking across the skies over Stonehenge.

(BBC) Comet Neowise over Stonehenge

It was discovered in late March and became one of the few comets in the 21st century that can be seen with the naked eye as it approached the sun.

The comet will be closest to the Earth on 23 July but will still be about 64 million miles (103 million km) away.

Jeff Overs, who travelled to Stonehenge in Wiltshire to photograph the comet, described the moment as “astonishing”.

“It was perfect conditions, clear and crisp and the comet was right above the stones,” he said.

“You can see it with the naked eye but it took me by surprise It did look spectacular. I won’t see another comet like that in my lifetime.”

The interplanetary iceberg will be visible throughout July in the northern hemisphere.

31 COMMENTS

  1. Love the Jupiter photos. For a long time all we had was speculation by artists such as Chesley Bonestell. Now we have closeup photos. Great stuff.

    • It’s more magnificent than human mind could conceive or paint, primarily because it is completely dynamic – ever changing. And all we can see is the top few layers of clouds.

    • When they were bombarding Earth, they were sending rocks. Before that, it was grain, IIRC. Of course, by far the best use of lunar metals would be for use off Earth. For lunar construction, and using EM catapults, for construction of space stations, giant space-based solar arrays (probably not to beam power down to Earth, but to the moon). The left over slag of refining on the Moon would be ideal as massive radiation shielding on space stations.

  2. but wouldn’t mining upset the balance of the moon? more metal here, less there, could it cause a variation in the synchronicity?

    • We would have to use some really interesting trig to figure that out – angle of the dangle = heat of the meat, etc.

      • Speaking of dangles and meat….
        This is where we need a Congressional inquiry.
        I therefore propose Task Force Johnson. Hank Johnson.

        • Congressman Johnson is black, and his life matters. He’s an expert on Pacific Island balance and maybe could weigh in on the Moon and whether we might collect so much mass from it that it would collide with the Earth (in 9 years when the end is supposed to arrive according to the Progressives).

    • Not just that, there have been accidents in several nuclear materials processing centers that led to their destruction. Dams have failed all or in part. It’s a mess.

  3. Someone once asked J.B.S. Haldane, the famous British geneticist/biologist, what a lifetime of studying biology had taught him about the preferences of God, should there be one. He answered, “He has an inordinate fondness for beetles.”

    Looking at those pictures of Jupiter I would say “an inordinate fondness for partial differential equations.” Not a straight line, not a single Euclidean shape to be found. Nothing but PDEs all the way down.

  4. I was actually able to see the comet quite clearly here in Vegas the last two nights. Also really clear shots of Mar and Saturn with my telescope. Amazing

  5. After Mrs. A Simple Man, of course, Jupiter is truly one of the most beautiful things imaginable. You can loose yourself for hours looking at the smallest details.

    • Just think what your Aunt Sally could whip up with a pound of green cheese, though, and count your blessings. Just saying.

      • Fredd has shared some of Aunt Sally’s recipes in the past but has not mentioned one made with Moon Cheese…yet

      • Aunt Sally uses green cheese all the time; she just scrapes off the green parts of the cheese, or most of the green, throws it into the cauldron and thinks nothing of it.

  6. Between “Life on Earth would not be possible without the Moon”, and the comet over Stonehenge, the wonders we get to witness when we take the time to look reveals an intelligent designer who knew we’d need to see them to understand life is more than our 4 square feet.

    We’re taking the ’56 Shasta up and over from the homestead for a few much needed days away with some friends….and to see some wonders. Chores can wait.

      • We’re off the beaten track some so reasonably safe from the fray, but prepared as you suggest. (“Is that a survival shovel in yer pickup, or are you just unhappy to see me?”)

        • Aliens are known to pluck remote campers from their campsite, do unnatural things, and then return them (having had their memories partially erased).

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here