Two lunar views

Scientists at the European Planetary Science Congress 2010 have released a map of how the solar wind impacts differently on different parts of the lunar surface. Mapping how many solar wind protons are deflected by magnetic anomalies, the researchers found up to 20% of incoming solar wind particles were bounced away. Furthermore, maps of energetic hydrogen atoms created by the interaction of the 80% of solar wind protons that make it through and strike the ground show holes where the magnetic anomalies resisted the interactions. The size of the holes varies with the force of the solar wind, which blows with changing intensities, but the general outlook is one of areas of the lunar surface relatively protected from the ion flux and so less likely to be producing the minute amount of water that results from the interactions. Details here.

Someone who himself was once deflected on his way to the Moon is Jim Lovell of Apollo 13 fame (and previously Apollo 8, which orbitted but did not intend to land on the Moon). He discussed the future of spaceflight and other things over on Universe Today, the interview is here.


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