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September 30 2012

Ice may lurk in shadows beyond Moon's poles


Water ice on the moon may be more widespread than previously thought. Permanent shadows have been spotted far from the lunar poles, expanding the number of sites that would be good candidates for exploration by robotic rovers or even for the locations of lunar bases.

Researchers have known for decades that the Moon's poles host craters with lofty rims that shield their floors from sunlight, so searches for shadowed areas harbouring water ice have focused on the poles1, 2. But over the past few months, researchers have built a catalogue of permanently shadowed regions elsewhere on the Moon.

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