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The New Moon: Major Advances in Lunar Science Enabled by Compositional Remote Sensing from Recent Missions

Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur, UP 208016, India
Geosciences 2018, 8(12), 498; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8120498
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 6 December 2018 / Accepted: 10 December 2018 / Published: 18 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Lunar Studies)
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Abstract

Volatile-bearing lunar surface and interior, giant magmatic-intrusion-laden near and far side, globally distributed layer of purest anorthosite (PAN) and discovery of Mg-Spinel anorthosite, a new rock type, represent just a sample of the brand new perspectives gained in lunar science in the last decade. An armada of missions sent by multiple nations and sophisticated analyses of the precious lunar samples have led to rapid evolution in the understanding of the Moon, leading to major new findings, including evidence for water in the lunar interior. Fundamental insights have been obtained about impact cratering, the crystallization of the lunar magma ocean and conditions during the origin of the Moon. The implications of this understanding go beyond the Moon and are therefore of key importance in solar system science. These new views of the Moon have challenged the previous understanding in multiple ways and are setting a new paradigm for lunar exploration in the coming decade both for science and resource exploration. Missions from India, China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and several private ventures promise continued exploration of the Moon in the coming years, which will further enrich the understanding of our closest neighbor. The Moon remains a key scientific destination, an active testbed for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) activities, an outpost to study the universe and a future spaceport for supporting planetary missions. View Full-Text
Keywords: The Moon; lunar exploration; lunar volcanism; lunar crust; lunar magma ocean; mare basalt; lunar volatiles The Moon; lunar exploration; lunar volcanism; lunar crust; lunar magma ocean; mare basalt; lunar volatiles
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Dhingra, D. The New Moon: Major Advances in Lunar Science Enabled by Compositional Remote Sensing from Recent Missions. Geosciences 2018, 8, 498.

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