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HubbleSite NASA's Hubble Looks for Possible Moon Resources


Space Telescope Science

NASA has enlisted the Hubble Space Telescope's unique "vision" capabilities for making a new class of science observations of the Moon that support future human exploration. Hubble's exquisite resolution and sensitivity to ultraviolet light, which is reflected off the Moon's surface materials, have allowed Hubble to begin to search for the presence of important minerals that may be critical for the establishment of sustained human presence on the Moon. Preliminary assessment of these new Hubble observations suggests new patterns in the abundance of titanium and iron oxides, both of which are sources of oxygen, a key ingredient for life, and an essential ingredient for human exploration. Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys imaged Aristarchus crater and nearby Schroter's Valley rille on Aug. 21, 2005. These images reveal fine-scale details of the crater's interior and exterior in ultraviolet and visible wavelengths at a scale of approximately 165 to 330 feet (50 to 100 meters) per picture element. These new ultraviolet-light observations, after being compared and calibrated against Hubble's ultraviolet-light observations of the Apollo 15 and 17 landing regions, will be used to quantify abundances of the titanium-bearing oxide ilmenite.

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