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The hubble Space Telescope identifies oxygen-rich minerals on the Moon

Mineral Images

NASA, ESA, and J. Garvin (NASA/GSFC)

NOTE: Black bars in the ultraviolet images represent areas where no data were taken.

Reflected light is a tool that astronomers use to study objects in space. In this case, they compared visible- and ultraviolet-light images of the Moon, as shown at right.

Different minerals reflect varying amounts of ultraviolet light. This fact enabled scientists to identify oxygen-rich minerals like titanium oxides on the Moon's surface.

The visible-light image (top, left) is Aristarchus, one of the largest and youngest impact craters on the Moon. Many of the crater's fresh impact features are still well preserved.

Scientists used a special technique to colorize the ultraviolet image at top, right. The colors reveal a variety of minerals. Scientists suspect that the bluer areas may be ilmenite — a mineral composed of titanium, oxygen, and iron.

The visible-light image (bottom, left) of Schroter's Valley shows a meandering rille. Notice how the blue color in the processed ultraviolet image (bottom, right) follows the shape of the rille. The blue areas may be resource-rich material.