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Water on the Moon: A geochemical approach Supervisors: Dr Mahesh Anand, Dr Ian Franchi (The Open University)

Summary: Water on the Moon: A geochemical approach
Supervisors: Dr Mahesh Anand, Dr Ian Franchi (The Open University)
Prof. Sara Russell (The Natural History Museum, London)
Rare opportunity to work with Apollo lunar samples
Training and application of state-of-the-art analytical instruments and techniques
Constrain the abundance, nature and source of lunar water
Since the Apollo era, the Moon has been considered to be an anhydrous body, therefore, amongst the
most exciting recent advances in planetary science has been the discovery by a number of spacecraft
missions (India's Chandrayaan-1 and NASA's LRO) of the presence of significant quantities of water on
the lunar surface at lower latitudes [1]. These findings have been corroborated by recent, earth-based,
laboratory analysis of lunar samples which suggest significant quantities of indigenous water in lunar
magmas [2-4]. These findings are complemented by measurements of the deuterium/hydrogen (D/H) ratio
in Apollo samples which yield cometary signatures [5], suggesting that comets may have played a more
important part in delivering water to the Moon than researchers had previously thought. However, how
and when these cometary signatures were acquired by lunar samples remains poorly understood.
In this novel project the student will perform a systematic mineralogical and geochemical
investigation, using state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation such as a NanoSIMS, of the main water-
bearing mineral phase, apatite, from a range of lunar samples to constrain the amount, nature and source
of lunar water. High-precision oxygen isotope measurements on mineral separates will yield key
information about mineral equilibration temperatures, which will aid the interpretation of D/H data in the


Source: Anand, Mahesh - Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research, Department of Earth Sciences, Open University


Collections: Geosciences