Scientists from the US Planetary Institute and the University of California at Los Angeles have compiled the first “cold trap” map on the moon.
The authors used the information collected by the Diviner radiometer over 11 years of observations. The device was on board the American Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
With the help of it, the researchers learned that the satellite has so-called “ice traps” – places with extremely low temperatures, where frozen volatiles, primarily carbon dioxide, can accumulate. It occurs in craters near the lunar south pole, but until recently it was not known how cold these areas were.
It turned out that the existence of areas with constant ultra-low temperatures is indeed likely. The assessment combined the data of the radiometer and information on the lunar “seasons”.
It may turn out that we will not be able to confirm their existence, they could be literally a pixel on the map. The surprise was that we found extended, rather cold areas with such certainty.
Norbert Schorgofer, study author
The total surface area on which cold traps should be located was 204 km². In these zones, even during the “lunar summer”, the temperature does not rise above -213 ° C.
It is noted that this information will help in future missions to the moon, as well as in the construction of a permanent lunar base.