Observations of water vapor ions at the lunar surface
The Apollo 14 Suprathermal Ion Detector Experiment observed a series of bursts of 48.6 eV water vapor ions at the lunar surface during a 14-h period on March 7, 1971. The maximum flux observed was 108 ions cm−2 s−1 sr−1. These ions were also observed at Apollo 12, 183 km to the west. Evaluation of specific artificial sources including the Apollo missions and the Russian Lunokhod leads to the conclusion that the water vapor did not come from a man-made source. Natural sources exogenous to the Moon such as comets and the solar wind are also found to be inadequate to explain the observed fluxes. Consequently, these water vapor ions appear to be of lunar origin.
KeywordsWater Vapor Solar Wind Natural Source Lunar Surface Detector Experiment
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