Thermal evolution of water and hydrogen from Apollo lunar regolith grains

1,2Brant M.Jones,1Aleksandr Aleksandrov,3Charles A.Hibbitts,1,2,4Thomas M.Orlando
Earth and Planetary Science Letters (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2021.117107]
1School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, United States of America
2Center for Space Technology and Research, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, United States of America
3John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, United States of America
4School of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, United States of America
Copyright Elsevier

The evolution of water and molecular hydrogen from Apollo lunar sample 15221, a mature mare soil, was examined by temperature program desorption (TPD) experiments conducted under ultra-high vacuum conditions. Desorption at the grain/vacuum interface with re-adsorption as water transports though the void space of the grains and activated sub-surface diffusion were found to reproduce the experimental TPD signal. Signal from the grain/vacuum interface yielded the second order desorption activation energies and site probability distributions. Water from sample 15221 exhibited a broad distribution of activation energies peaking at 130 kJ mol−1 extending up to 350 kJ mol−1 at zero coverage limit with an onset of 110 kJ mol−1 at full coverage. Our results suggest that water and hydrogen originating from lunar regolith contributes a minor amount to the observed mass in the LCROSS impact event. The abnormal amount of molecular hydrogen observed in the ejecta plume of the LCROSS impact may indicate that the radiolytic production of H2 from electron and galatic cosmic rays of physisorbed water is a contributor to the vast quantity of molecular hydrogen detected.

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