Tuesday, 30th June 2009
In General Japan News,
Japanese lunar probe discovers uranium on the moon
A Japanese lunar probe has recorded the first conclusive evidence of the presence of uranium on the moon.
The Kaguya spacecraft, which crashed onto the surface of the moon at the end of a two-year mission on June 10th, detected the element using a gamma-ray spectrometer intended to map the chemical composition of the lunar surface.
It is hoped that cataloguing the elements on the moon, which include thorium, potassium, oxygen and magnesium, will help scientists to establish the levels of retrievable resources available.
Robert Reedy, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute and a member of the Kaguya science team, said: "We've already gotten uranium results, which have never been reported before. We're getting more new elements and refining and confirming results found on the old maps."
The Kaguya probe, which launched in late 2007, was initially tasked with collecting data on the moon's compositions and gravitational field in order to study its evolution, as well as recording high-definition video of its surface.
Written by Mark Smith