“The Josephine Lawrence Hopkins Foundation Colloquium” - Physics of Volatiles on the Moon and Other Airless Bodies
Theoretical considerations and recent observations indicate the lunar polar regions harbor deposits of water ice in extremely cold regions. In this seminar, I will describe the basic physics of ice diffusion and deposition in such environments, and combine these principles with the latest data returned by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Under suitable conditions, water molecules can be pumped down into the regolith by day-night temperature cycles, leading to an enrichment in excess of the surface concentration, even in locations where traditional criteria would predict no ice. The predictions of volatile distribution have relevance to other airless bodies visited by spacecraft, such as Mercury and Ceres.