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NASA radar onboard India's lunar probe detects ice news
02 March 2010

Space scientists have announced that a NASA radar onboard India's lunar orbiter Chandrayaan-1 has detected ice deposits in craters located at the moon's North Pole. A NASA statement said that more than 40 small craters containing water ice have turned up in the search conducted by NASA "Mini-SAR" radar, which was part of a package of eleven instruments carried by India's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.

A lunar crater near the moon's North Pole show signs of ice in its interior. Image: NASA
The craters have diameters 1-9 miles across.

"Although the total amount of ice depends on its thickness in each crater, its estimated there could be at least 1.3 trillion pounds of water ice," the NASA statement said.

The finding is in consonance with earlier indications generated by NASA's Lunar Prospector mission, and comes after a impact-blast test last year in November that successfully detected ice in South Pole lunar craters by NASA's LCROSS  mission.

"The emerging picture from the multiple measurements and resulting data of the instruments on lunar missions indicates that water creation, migration, deposition and retention are occurring on the moon," said Mini-SAR investigator Paul Spudis, of Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, in a statement.

Scientists surmise that ice can remain frozen in the shadows of polar craters on the moon as they have been shaded from sunlight for billions of years, and may be preserved chilled at temperatures below -300 degrees Fahrenheit.

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NASA radar onboard India's lunar probe detects ice