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Water molecules may be trapped in pits on the moon's surface.

In 2009, the Kaguya probe spotted potholes on the moon 50 to 100 metres wide and a similar distance deep. The holes are thought to be the caved-in ceilings of caverns called lava tubes.

Now Junichi Haruyama of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and colleagues say these pits could trap water formed when hydrogen in the solar wind combines with oxygen in rocks.

The freezing cold, shadowy floors of the holes would keep a tight grip on these water molecules, in contrast to more exposed areas, where sunlight could loosen them from the surface, the team reported recently at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas.

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Category: Science