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Non-Polar Volatiles

We have another section on lunar polar water ice and volatiles in permanently shadowed craters in the Moon's north and south poles.

This section is on volatiles on the rest of the Moon.

The Moon's surface is poor in hydrogen and other volatiles such as nitrogen, carbon, and chlorine, due to the extreme high temperatures during the lunar day and also the origin of the Moon. However, all of the Moon is rich in oxygen in the form of oxides of silicon and metals.

Hydrogen and carbon exist in trace amounts everywhere on the Moon due to the solar wind impinging on the lunar surface for billions of years, with hydrogen embedded within the molecular structure of grains it has struck. This can be extracted by heating, even if just a secondary product during processing of lunar materials for other reasons. The hydrogen can be combined with oxygen to produce water. The concentration of hydrogen can be increased by separating the smaller grains, since the solar wind hydrogen is near the surface of the grains, making the larger ones less desirable. Also, certain minerals hold onto the hydrogen longer.

There are also traces of carbon, but it is also precious.

Sulfur is fairly abundant and can be substituted for other volatiles in some situations.

For mining and human operations away from the lunar poles, it is likely that the vast majority of volatiles will be imported from the lunar poles. > Lunar Resources (Mining The Moon) > Origin and Composition > Non-Polar Volatiles

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