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Chandrayaan M3 Instrument Confirms Iron-Bearing Minerals On the Moon

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the that's-no-...-wait-yes-that's-a-moon dept.

Moon 67

William Robinson writes with news that the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), an instrument developed by NASA and sent aboard India's Chandrayaan-1, has confirmed the presence of iron-bearing minerals on the moon. This marks the beginning of an extensive examination of the composition of the lunar surface. "Isro officials said M3 would help in characterising and mapping lunar minerals to ultimately understand the moon's early geological evolution. 'The compositional map that will come out of M3 will have fantastic data on geological formation of the moon,' the official said. Researchers said the relative abundance of magnesium and iron in lunar rocks could help confirm whether the moon was covered by a molten, magma ocean early on in its history. Iron and magnesium will also indicate melting of the moon, if it happened and how it formed later. This metallic element has been found in lunar meteorites, but scientists know little about its distribution in the lunar crust."

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So we mine iron on the moon, (4, Funny)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 5 years ago | (#26240585)

exactly what is the canary we take down the shaft with us going to breathe?

Re:So we mine iron on the moon, (5, Funny)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 5 years ago | (#26240597)

runs of and patents a canary space suit :P

Re:So we mine iron on the moon, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26240625)

I've never been to the moon, but here's my story:

I dropped a brown rope this morning the size of a small black child. At one point, I wasn't sure if I was taking a shit, or it the shit was taking me. And while I'm on that point, what's the deal with taking a shit? Shouldn't it be leaving a shit? I'm certainly not taking anything with me when I'm done.

But back on topic, the moon sucks ass

Maybe it's a GM canary... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241365)

... that eats rust, "breathes" the oxygen in it and poops iron guano? Who needs miners when ya got canaries like that?

Re:So we mine iron on the moon, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241629)

Maybe it simply detected the Death Star hull?

Everyone knows there is air (1)

awfar (211405) | more than 5 years ago | (#26242921)

in the Selenite's ventilation shaft.

Had a first edition of the book years ago; lost it, wish I still had it.

CCDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26240589)

Why hasn't this presence been detected more times, and earlier? Capable CCD technology has been prevalent for a while.

Re:CCDs (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26240681)

My reaction exactly. Plus I seem to recall that in the 1990s, was it with Clementine or Galileo, we had some of these fancy colourful maps that supposedly reveal a lot about the surface geology. So why this only now?

This is not news! (3, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241545)

India's Chandrayaan-1, has confirmed the presence of iron-bearing minerals on the moon.>/p?

The presence of iron bearing minerals on the moon is not news.

At best, I suppose it might be news that at least one of Chandrayaan-1's instruments is functional, but "we've found iron on the moon" (Iron being, I believe, the third most common element in lunar rock, after silicon) is not even a difficult test of the instruments-- mapping phosphorus, or one of the trace elemental components, would be more interesting.

Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26240591)

Now thats exactly what we didnt need to hear.

f1r5t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26240595)

f1r5t p05t?

Minerals (1)

vegaspace (1253656) | more than 5 years ago | (#26240631)

Would someone go to the moon to extract some minerals? :) Maybe a new trip on the Moon sooner?

Re:Minerals (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#26242127)

Only if it is oil or the magical element that enables cold fusion. Considering oil comes from dinosaurs so I don't think there is oil there

Re:Minerals (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26244035)

your WRONG ok, the earth is only 6000 years old and oil and coal can be made in 6 weeks! oh and i made paintings of jebus with dinosaurs.

Re:Minerals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26242973)

Iron is very abundant on Earth. Why would anyone want to mine it on the moon and send it to Earth?

Re:Minerals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26270489)

If gold bars were stacked up on the lunar surface, ready to be picked up, it still would not pay to go get them. (I'm not speculating, this is an established fact.)

It costs billions of dollars to go to the moon and back.

WTF????? (4, Interesting)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26240645)

"William Robinson writes with news that the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), an instrument developed by NASA and sent aboard India's Chandrayaan-1, has confirmed the presence of iron-bearing minerals on the moon. This marks the beginning of an extensive examination of the composition of the lunar surface."

-As if actually analyzing the actual lunar samples brought back by earlier moon missions wasn't enough.....

Re:WTF????? (4, Insightful)

ianare (1132971) | more than 5 years ago | (#26240735)

Yeah I didn't get the big deal about it either, until I read this :

"Obviously many missions before have found iron, but Chandrayaan-1 has reiterated the presence. We believe it is very significant because the mission has already fulfilled one of its objectives, which was to sight minerals."

... Ok so now what was the big deal again ?

Re:WTF????? (2, Interesting)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241225)

India obviously wants their share of the moon's resources too. I doubt you want to know if the moon has minerals just to put stats on paper, someone someday is going to mine it.

I wonder what is going to happen then, will the corporations share the resources or will we get the moon wars?

Re:WTF????? (5, Insightful)

AikonMGB (1013995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241237)

All of the manned missions to the Moon took place in a relatively small area on the near-side. As far as I can tell from the press spiel in the link, M3's mission is to survey the entire surface of the Moon.

At present there is very little data of any sort regarding the far-side of the Moon. Information on the magnetic and gravitational fields is of particular interest because of its importance for orbital prediction, determination, and manipulation.

Aikon-

Re:WTF????? (2, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26242067)

All of the manned missions to the Moon took place in a relatively small area on the near-side. As far as I can tell from the press spiel in the link, M3's mission is to survey the entire surface of the Moon.

All of the manned landing missions surveyed only a small area of the surface, true. But people often forget that the missions included a manned orbiting component - a component that conducted an extensive survey of the entire lunar surface. They carried magnetometers, photographic survey cameras, and a variety of other sensors. Analysis of their trajectory gave information on the gravitational field. (In addition to the variety of unmanned probes flown.)
 
 

At present there is very little data of any sort regarding the far-side of the Moon. Information on the magnetic and gravitational fields is of particular interest because of its importance for orbital prediction, determination, and manipulation.

Except for the detailed information of a few sites on the front side due to landers (manned and unmanned) - we know just as much about the backside as the front, as it was overflown by the same unmanned probes and manned missions.

Re:WTF????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26243787)

Information on the magnetic and gravitational fields is of particular interest

I wonder if they've found TMA-1 yet?

Re:WTF????? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241633)

Ok so now what was the big deal again

The full blown mineralogy mapping of moon was never undertaken before, which is being done now. And the first step is to confirm the correct working of instruments before the full mapping is to be believed.

Re:WTF????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26260507)

Confirmation that the landings were not a hoax.

Re:WTF????? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26240749)

As if actually analyzing the actual lunar samples brought back by earlier moon missions wasn't enough.

They did analyze and found them to be from some desert on earth :P

Re:WTF????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241067)

Danger! Danger!

Re:WTF????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241991)

"William Robinson writes with news that the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), an instrument developed by NASA and sent aboard India's Chandrayaan-1, has confirmed the presence of iron-bearing minerals on the moon. This marks the beginning of an extensive examination of the composition of the lunar surface."

-As if actually analyzing the actual lunar samples brought back by earlier moon missions wasn't enough.....

"William Robinson writes with news that the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), an instrument developed by NASA and sent aboard India's Chandrayaan-1, has confirmed the presence of iron-bearing minerals on the moon. This marks the beginning of an extensive examination of the composition of the lunar surface."

-As if actually analyzing the actual lunar samples brought back by earlier moon missions wasn't enough.....

Danger!!!!! Will Robinson.... Danger!!!!!!

Re:WTF????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26242469)

Yeah, good point. I wonder what all those people exploring the Earth are doing, too - they're all just wasting their time, since I already looked around the area where I lived. And obviously, the earth is entirely uniform.

Just like the moon.

Re:WTF????? (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26243641)

-As if actually analyzing the actual lunar samples brought back by earlier moon missions wasn't enough.....

This is news because now NASA can say "See!?! I _told_ you these really came from the moon!".

Re:WTF????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26245019)

I remember seeing some fairly detailed graphs showing mineral (specifically iron) deposits across the entire moon several years ago. In fact I distinctly remember being surprised the dark side of the moon had very very little iron while the side facing earth has a whole crap load of the stuff in relative terms.

I'm sure this "finding" is news for some nuanced reason that I am ignorant of but it does not stop me from blissfully echoing parents WTF...

Re:WTF????? (1)

aqk (844307) | more than 4 years ago | (#26249141)

-As if actually analyzing the actual lunar samples brought back by earlier moon missions wasn't enough.....

(sigh...) You still don't get it, do you?
It's an outsourcing test.
"Hello, Houston? This is Bangalore. You can begin turning off your lights now."

.

outsourced? (4, Funny)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 5 years ago | (#26240753)

even space exploration is being outsourced to India? discuss

Re:outsourced? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26240887)

Heylo, and welucum to de india spashe expalorashun hawtline! My name ees shankar nineleven here at youl servish! Now halve you treyed disabling youl firewall?

Re:outsourced? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26240931)

When will this joke ever cease to be funny?

Re:outsourced? (1, Insightful)

ph3r (1140503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241049)

Jokes tend to be funnier when they're true.

Re:outsourced? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26243157)

What crap. Nobody "outsourced" this particular space trip to India.

Re:outsourced? (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26243305)

Nobody "outsourced" this particular space trip to India.

Actually, NASA [nasa.gov] did... as part of the Discovery Program. [nasa.gov]

From the DP page:

It represents a breakthrough in the way NASA explores space, with lower-cost, highly focused planetary science investigations designed to enhance our understanding of the solar system.

So yeah, in order to lower the cost of the M3 mission, the launch was outsourced to India.

-shrug- Could've been Sealaunch [wikipedia.org] for all I care, but the fact IS that the M3 was outsourced to another launch program to save money, per program specs.

Re:outsourced? (1)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241743)

yes IRONic.

Re: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26240769)

so what?

Danger Will Robinson! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26240903)

It had to be said.

Danger Will Robinson!

Just wait (1)

ph3r (1140503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241021)

when people we realize we shouldn't mine on the moon simply for the fact it could seriously distort our gravitational forces and throw us into the sun. I mean, it's not like we're not deserving of such a fate. ;P

Re:Just wait (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241147)

We can just replace the minerals with garbage of equal mass. TWO PROBLEMS SOLVED.

Or, we could just strap a ton of garbage into a rocket and shoot it into the sun.

Re:Just wait (1)

ph3r (1140503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241343)

You know, that isn't such a bad idea. I'll support it if/when the day comes. :>

Re:Just wait (1)

cnettel (836611) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241859)

Mining the moon seems like a wise choice, then. The Earth-Luna complex would keep its mass. Mining the asteroids is another thing, though. On the other hand, Earth loses quite a bit of atmosphere, but also gains mini-meteors, so unless we start considering really vast structures, it can safely be ignored.

$0.02 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241189)

On the heels of the "landing" of an Indian vehicle on the moon, and now the confirmation of iron-bearing minerals, pretty soon we will all be told the earth is actually round (with pictures!).

Mindless hyperbole usually make you look like an a$$.

That's no moon.... (0)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241219)

It's a space station!

Prison Colony on the Moon? (2, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241241)

Anybody ever see "Outland": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outland_(film) [wikipedia.org] ?

Maybe, in the future, someone is planning to send criminal violators of Internet Censorship Laws to an Outland-like mining colony on the Moon. There, for something to do, they can break Moon rocks with sledgehammers, and extract the iron ore from them. The iron ore will be sent down to Earth on the nanotube elevator.

But I'm thinking, with the lower gravity, the Moon sledgehammers would have to be bigger to have the same force as those on Earth. Extra Credit Freshman Physics Exam question: How much bigger?

Re:Prison Colony on the Moon? (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241443)

The sledgehammers would be the same size, the contributing acceleration and force from gravity is of lesser significance than what your muscles provide.

The actual swing part of swinging a sledgehammer would be just as taxing on the moon or in zero G as on earth, carrying it around would be a bit easier however.

Re:Prison Colony on the Moon? (1)

Torino10 (1369453) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241519)

A bigger hammer would make it harder to swing, there may be problems with torque if the swingers feet are not attached to the floor

Re:Prison Colony on the Moon? (1)

myxiplx (906307) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241621)

No bigger at all. It's not gravity that makes sledgehammers work (you can use them sideways quite happily) - it's acceleration. Or rather the sudden declaration of a rather large weight in very little space.

Remember, f=ma, and when the space you have to decelerate is so small, a, and consequently f are going to be very large indeed, probably a couple or three orders of magnitude higher than the force you used to accelerate the hammer in the first place.

Re:Prison Colony on the Moon? (1)

markk (35828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26242509)

No bigger at all. As long as you swing them the same speed. Weight != momentum. The momentum of the hammer head will be the same. The swing effort will be different though, your force more and you will have to figure out ways to brace yourself or jam your feet better. You will move around more and have worse footing due to the decreased friction. If you ever have actually broken rocks (concrete myself) with a hammer, you know it is in the timing of your swing anyway. You could use a more massive hammer on the moon with good bracing, but I am guessing the timing would be tougher. You would get off balance when swinging just the same as with that mass on earth.

Zero Chance (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26244135)

of sending prisoners. It would be robots since they do not require O2/water/food.

Re:Prison Colony on the Moon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26247257)

Maybe when you re-take hi-school you may learn the difference between weight and mass and you will know why your post was stupid.

Yeah.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26241321)

.. my fridge magnets are all alive on the moon!

I thought Shepard used a driver... (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241451)

Hmm. Well with iron and woods on the moon, throw in a putter...

News about the Moon? (4, Funny)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241529)

William Robinson writes with news that the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), an instrument developed by NASA and sent aboard India's Chandrayaan-1, has confirmed the presence of iron-bearing minerals on the moon. This marks the beginning of an extensive examination of the composition of the lunar surface.

"Isro officials said M3 would help in characterising and mapping lunar minerals to ultimately understand the moon's early geological evolution. 'The compositional map that will come out of M3 will have fantastic data on geological formation of the moon,' the official said. Researchers said the relative abundance of magnesium and iron in lunar rocks could help confirm whether the moon was covered by a molten, magma ocean early on in its history. Iron and magnesium will also indicate melting of the moon, if it happened and how it formed later. This metallic element has been found in lunar meteorites, but scientists know little about its distribution in the lunar crust."

I'm far more interested to hear how Mr. Robinson and his family made it back from Alpha Centauri and did Dr. Smith and the Robot make the return journey with them?

So lets make some robot building robots already! (2, Interesting)

Monkeybaister (588525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241725)

Let's bootstrap moon production. Why lug tons of materials up there when we could figure out how to build most of what we want using materials already present on the moon. Leave the expensive task of cargo hauling to components that would cost too much to get the manufacturing equipment there. Let's see if we can get a near self sustaining habitation there before we think of sending more people.

Surprised that you are not modded up (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26244199)

If I were Britain, or even the rest of EU, I would skip the part of working on habitats.Britain was talking of extending ISS with a module. Instead, they should buy the modules from Bigelow and focus on various robotics. In particular, I would work on some that can work on the outside of the ISS (floating around; help astronauts), and others that will work the moon/mars. The reason is that those same robots used on moon/mars can be used on Earth. That is also why America should be focusing on that.

As to cargo hauling, rockets ARE rocket SCIENCE. There is still art, but not like 50 years ago. Now, would be a good time for govs to get out of the task of cargo hauling and encourage the private enterprise to take over.

Bacteria to eat that iron? (1)

Mitchua (755534) | more than 5 years ago | (#26241801)

Does that mean there is something up there to eat that lunar landing equipment after-all?

Mining (1)

Frozentech (890974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26242143)

Earth First ! (We'll mine the other planets later...) --poster seen at a mining operation

We've known this for a while. (2, Funny)

Wavicle (181176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26242935)

Cheese contains approximately 2% of your RDA for Iron: http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/7583/2 [nutritiondata.com]

Re:We've known this for a while. (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26259087)

Are those numbers for Wensleydale [wikipedia.org] ? Wallace and Gromit proved [wikia.com] that the moon is made of Wensleydale or Stilton. My own ground-based spectrographic analyses point to Wensleydale.

The real news (1)

extrasolar (28341) | more than 5 years ago | (#26243429)

I think the real news is that the M3 is working and is confirming the results of other moon missions. This isn't so much important for double-checking that there really *is* iron on the moon, but more double-checking that the M3 is working and providing correct information. If the M3 sent back information that the moon's surface was composed of cheese-oxide, they'd probably want to recheck their instruments.

One thing I would like to know is whether this is iron ore that can be processed by a future lunar factory into metal? But the other interesting thing is that it looks like the mission of the M3 is to create a high-resolution mineral map of the moon, which is interesting to me as this would be very useful for possible exploitation of lunar resources in the future.

Anyway, I haven't heard of this mission before (sorry, I've only started to get back interested in astronomy recently) but I'm glad they're doing it.

Here's some links I've found:

NASA's page on the M3 [nasa.gov]
A Space Spin article [spacespin.org]
Wikipedia on Chandrayaan [wikipedia.org]

Also, from TFA:

"Obviously many missions before have found iron, but Chandrayaan-1 has reiterated the presence. We believe it is very significant because the mission has already fulfilled one of its objectives, which was to sight minerals. More is to come and it should be exciting if we can confirm the presence of uranium and other minerals,'' said an ISRO official.

Which would be extremely cool if we found uranium on the moon because of the possibility of nuclear energy on the moon. I know, we'll probably only exploit solar at first with the future lunar outpost, but still neat.

(BTW, I'm basically just spilling the thoughts that I'm sure anyone else is having when they read this stuff, I'm sure others will correct whatever mistaken thoughts I have.)

Re:The real news (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#26245009)

> (BTW, I'm basically just spilling the thoughts that I'm sure anyone else is having when they read this stuff

Like the very next message? Are we perhaps illuminating a Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious?

OK, it works (2, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#26244983)

Once again, "confirm" is to be taken as "finds the thing we already knew was there", rather than the implied "found, and the data verified". More than 700 kg of lunar material has been returned by Apollo and Luna. We have a very good understanding of the content. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_rock [wikipedia.org]

The actual main point of TFA is that the NASA device detects what it should if it were working properly, and so should, barring other problems, be able to map the surface in terms of mineral content. If and when it does, that will be news. Saying "it's not broke so far" isn't very newsworthy.

In the absence of substantive discoveries of its own (which I have no doubt will occur; there's much to learn and the Indian team is quite capable), ISRO tends to sound like the little brother tagging along with the big kids, chattering on about how he's a big kid now too, despite just being there as opposed to actually having done big kid stuff (TFA *is* about a NASA device, after all). In the mean time, the big kids might find it annoying, but you're not doing it for them, so get excited, wave that flag, and have a ball. Heck, I remember Houston breaking into cheers just because Apollo 8 fired its motor for trans-lunar insertion, a far cry from actually making it.

Patience guys, if you don't have a significant primary discovery all your own in 90 days (for the data; confirmatory analysis may take a while longer), either you're not trying or it broke.

Those aren't iron bearing minerals... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26261473)

Those aren't iron bearing minerals... It's Unicron!

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