A new map of the moon has revealed an abundance of titanium ore that is up to 10 times richer than on Earth, a finding that could one day lead to a lunar mining colony, astronomers said on Friday.
The discovery was made thanks to a camera aboard the US Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which swept the surface of the moon, scrutinizing it in seven different light wavelengths.
Mark Robinson of Arizona State University, who presented the research at a conference in Nantes, France, with Brett Denevi of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, sifted through the data for telltale jumps in the ratio of ultra-violet to visible light.
They established this signature thanks to rock samples brought back to Earth by Apollo 17 astronauts in 1972 and images of the area around the mission’s landing site by the Hubble space telescope.
“Looking up at the moon, its surface appears painted with shades of grey,” Robinson said. “But with the right instruments, the moon can appear colorful.”
“The maria [lunar plains] appear reddish in some places and blue in others. Although subtle, these color variations tell us important things about the chemistry and evolution of the lunar surface. They indicate the titanium and iron abundance, as well as the maturity of a lunar soil,” he said.
Titanium is as strong as steel but nearly half as light, which makes it a highly desired — and also very expensive — metal.
On Earth, titanium is found, at the very most, in about 1 percent of similar types of ore. However, the new map found abundances in the lunar maria that range from about 1 percent to 10 percent, the conference organizers said in a press release.
The meeting gathers together, for the first time, members of the European Planetary Science Congress and the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences.
The find offers a double potential bounty, they said.
“Lunar titanium is mostly found in the mineral ilmenite, a compound containing iron, titanium and oxygen,” they said. “Future miners living and working on the Moon could break down ilmenite to liberate these elements.”
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
CHINESE FIGHTERS: Beijing marked the US Cabinet member’s visit by briefly sending two warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the highest-level official meeting between the two nations since 1979. “It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from [US] President [Donald] Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said during the open portion of his courtesy call to the Presidential Office, which was streamed live online before Tsai and Azar held a closed-door meeting. “Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent,
PARTNERSHIP AND LEARNING: A Princeton University health policy researcher said that the nation would be a ‘treasure trove’ of information for the US health chief US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Friday said he wants to learn about Taiwan’s “incredibly effective” response to COVID-19, even though the nation did things that the US has fumbled, such as having a unified strategy and citizens willing to wear masks. Azar leads a US delegation arriving today for a three-day visit to Taiwan. They are to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and health system leaders, and Azar is to give a speech to public health graduates. “The message of this trip is about Taiwan,” Azar said in an interview, deflecting a question about China.
Taiwanese-independence advocates yesterday accused former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of breaking national security laws and called on the judiciary to investigate after his statement that “China will wage a battle, which will be quick and will be the last battle for Taiwan.” Ma showed his true colors “as a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party” in his speech on Monday when he said the “first battle will be the last,” Taiwan Republic Office (台灣國辦公室) director Chilly Chen (陳峻涵) said. “Ma is threatening Taiwanese by claiming that Beijing will launch a quick invasion of Taiwan, but that the US military will have no