Surface of the Moon mapped out: Ice found in south pole of the Moon

By Amanda Shore

The Shackleton Crater, which lies almost directly on the Moon’s south pole, could be filled with ice. At 12 miles wide and two miles deep, it’s roughly the size of Earth’s oceans. Since craters on or near the poles are in almost perpetual darkness and therefore extremely cold, scientists have suspected that there could be ice there.

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), launched in 2009, found of June 21, 2012 that this crater’s surface is covered with 22 percent ice. There were more ice on the walls of the crater than on the floor, but this could lead to more lunar exploration since it could be a source of water or even a fuel source for future astronauts.

With the LRO now finished with its mission to map out the Moon’s surface, scientists can investigate the unusual brightness that they had seen coming from the Shackleton crater. For two years, this strange light had puzzled researchers. They have speculated that the Moon’s seismic activity would cause darker soil to fall from the walls of the crater, revealing brighter substances underneath.

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