DIX Planetary Science Seminar
This talk will present observational results on the distribution of water on the Moon. A 6 micron emissivity feature was detected from the sunlit lunar surface using the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). The 6 micron feature is particularly interesting because it uniquely arises from a bending mode of the H2O molecule, complementing the more readily observable 3 micron reflectivity dip that arises from an O-H stretch and could be due to OH. Follow-up 6 micron observations, including wide-area maps, were made in 2022, the final year of that observatory's operations. The maps show direct association with lunar topographic features. I'll go over the lunar volatile concepts in general, then the SOFIA observations and our interpretation of 2022 February observations in the southern hemisphere, plus preview some of the other maps and making an initial comparison between the 6 and 3 micron observations. The SOFIA results will inform upcoming CLPS missions and the Lunar Trailblazer experiments addressing lunar volatiles.