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News Release 9 of 37

October 19, 2005 01:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2005-29

NASA's Hubble Looks for Possible Moon Resources

October 19, 2005: NASA has enlisted the Hubble Space Telescope's unique "vision" capabilities for making a new class of science observations of the Moon that support future human exploration. Hubble's exquisite resolution and WATCH: HubbleMinute Video Hubble Minute: Moon, Mars and Beyond Hubble Minute: Moon, Mars and Beyond READ: Junior version of this article Amazing Space Learn about this story in the Star Witness, a science newspaper available on our sister site, Amazing Space.  sensitivity to ultraviolet light, which is reflected off the Moon’s surface materials, have allowed Hubble to begin to search for the presence of important minerals that may be critical for the establishment of sustained human presence on the Moon. Preliminary assessment of these new Hubble observations suggests new patterns in the abundance of titanium and iron oxides, both of which are sources of oxygen, a key ingredient for life, and an essential ingredient for human exploration. Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys imaged Aristarchus crater and nearby Schroter's Valley rille on Aug. 21, 2005. These images reveal fine-scale details of the crater's interior and exterior in ultraviolet and visible wavelengths at a scale of approximately 165 to 330 feet (50 to 100 meters) per picture element. These new ultraviolet-light observations, after being compared and calibrated against Hubble's ultraviolet-light observations of the Apollo 15 and 17 landing regions, will be used to quantify abundances of the titanium-bearing oxide ilmenite.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Garvin (NASA/GSFC)