Frequently Asked Questions
Section J1.
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What's beneath the lunar surface?

The question has been raised before whether there are veins of ores and other crysals on the moon. On Earth, water served a significant function in the formation of certain crystals and cave formations. Since that never happened on the moon, one might conclude that there are no veins of ores on the moon.

But the significance of water can't be extrapolated to conclude there will be no veins in the moon. Liquid water is a surface phenomenon; geological processes account for most of the veins of ores we find on Earth, as well as other interesting phenomena such as the formation of diamonds deep beneath the surface and their transportation to the surface.

Geological smelting worked there as well as here, but with some big differences: lower gravity, faster cooling, and no liquid water on the surface. Extrapolating from that observation to knowing what lies a meter beneath the surface of the moon, however, falls into the category of wild speculation. We simply do not have any data. Everything we know about the moon is from scratching the topmost layer -- scant inches -- of the regolith at half a dozen pinpoints on the surface, and orbiting satellites that viewed only the top layer of molecules.

So, yes, we have every reason to expect that minerals and metals would be formed, sorted, and concentrated by geological processes; but we really won't know until we get there and start digging.

Frequently Asked Questions

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