Testing polar spots of water-rich permafrost on the Moon: LEND observations onboard LRO

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Abstract

[1] Results are presented for the LEND instrument onboard LRO for the detection of local spots of suppression and excess of epithermal neutron emission at the lunar poles. Twelve local Neutron Suppression Regions (NSRs) and Neutron Excess Regions (NERs) are detected. It is shown using the data from the LOLA and Diviner instruments that six NSRs have the empirical property “less local irradiation and lower temperature – fewer local neutrons.” These NSRs may be identified with spots of water-ice rich permafrost on the Moon. It is shown that detected NSRs are include in both permanently shadowed and illuminated areas, and they are not coincident with Permanently Shadowed Regions (PSRs) at the bottom of polar craters, as has been commonly expected before LEND presented neutron data with high spatial resolution.

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