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About The Cover

Cover image expansion

COVER While traces of water species have been detected within the top few millimeters of the Moon's surface, the nature and amount of subsurface water ice on the Moon remains poorly understood. Kayama et al. applied detailed micro-Raman spectroscopy and electron microscopy to identify several forms of silicon dioxide in 13 lunar meteorite samples found in the northwest African desert. They discovered a mineral called moganite in one lunar meteorite; its presence is intriguing, the authors say, because it likely formed during lunar fluid activity on the Moon's surface (rather than being formed under terrestrial weathering conditions in the hot desert where the meteorites were discovered). Thus, the authors suggest the moganite would have required water ice from the Moon's subsurface in order to form. The meteoritic moganite discovery could be an important confirmation that water ice occurs in the Moon's subsurface; such watery resources could be useful in space exploration beyond the Moon, if truly present. [CREDIT: JOE BELANGER/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO]