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Precious Surprise: Huge Titanium Sites on the Moon

There are many reasons why we should go back to the Moon. One of them is called titanium.

If we were looking for the best titanium sites on Earth, the most we would get is ore with 3 percent concentration. On the Moon, however, there are rocks boasting with as much as 18 percent titanium concentration. The large sites were recently found by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and were identified with spectral analysis by planetary geologist Jeffrey Gillis-Davis, from the University of Hawaii. This richness of titanium on the Moon is attributed to the more intense volcanic activity of the planet. It is supposed that as the Moon was cooling and solidifying, some elements – like titanium – did not mix well, so they formed a separate layer under the surface, that was later brought to the surface by the volcanic eruptions.



The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter at work

We are aware of the existence of titanium on the Moon since the Apollo missions, its supposed quantity was however revealed only lately, and this, of course, has turned on the fantasy of those who see the exploitation of the lunar resources as the future.

Titanium is special because it is strong and light at the same time, and it is resists corrosion. Namely it is perfect for modern technology. On the Moon, it is mainly to be found in a rock called ilmenite that contains titanium, iron and oxygen. These ingredients seem very tempting, because heating the material we an obtain not only titanium but also oxygen that can be put to great use on a future lunar base – be it for the purpose of breathing or producing fuel.

The LRO that is searching for resources and water on the Moon is currently orbiting at 50 km around the planet and is collecting data for future lunar missions.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 22 November 2011 17:10)

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