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Commentary: Spectrum Misreading - Most of the Lunar Water Detected by M3 Might Actually Be Lunar Methanol
  • Tianxi Sun
Tianxi Sun
Suzhou Ecological Environment Bureau, Suzhou 215000, China; Original: East China Hydroelectric Investigation and Design Institute.

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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We have to face an important and urgent problem: even though according to spectral detection, we cannot conclude that there is much water ice on the Moon as the prevailing theory claims. We might have overlooked the widespread presence of methanol on the Moon. After the interstellar methanol ice fell onto the Moon, the methanol in it was retained due to the strong adsorption of methanol in the carbon-rich lunar regolith and the water in it could be divided into two situations: one involved in catalytic reactions with methanol on lunar surface and another one escaped to the deep space because of harsh environment. The rest of methanol might still be widespread on lunar surface. M3 is unable to distinguish between hydroxyl radicals from water ice and hydroxyl groups from methanol because the absorption strengths of the two are all 2.9 μm, and there are no established methods to distinguish them using the 2.9μm band. Thus, most of the lunar water detected by M3 might be lunar methanol. Attention should be paid to previous misreading of the spectrum. The so-called surficial water illogically appeared at lunar equator, seriously shaking the credibility of M3 spectra data analysis. The vast quantities of hydrogen found in lunar polar craters should be hydrogen ice, which easy to confuse with water ice. The author has also made a preliminary study of the physical / chemical process chains on lunar surface. It is necessary to conduct in-depth research in this field in the future.