Volatile interactions with the lunar surfaceOPEN ACCESS 

Paul G. Lucey, Noah Petro, Dana Hurley, William Farrell, Parvathy Prem, Emily Costello, Morgan Cable, Michael Barker, Mehdi Benna, Darby Dyar, Elizabeth Fisher, Robert Green, Paul Hayne, Karl Hibbitts, Casey Honniball, Shuai Li, Erick Malaret, Kathy Mandt, Erwan Mazarico, Molly McCanta, Carle Pieters, Xiaoli Sun, David Thompson, Thomas Orlando

Invited Review
Available online 16 December 2021


“The Moon is generally depleted in volatile elements and this depletion extends to the surface where the most abundant mineral, anorthite, features <6 ppm H2O. Presumably the other nominally anhydrous minerals that dominate the mineral composition of the global surface—olivine and pyroxene—are similarly depleted in water and other volatiles. Thus the Moon is tabula rasa for the study of volatiles introduced in the wake of its origin. Since the formation of the last major basin (Orientale), volatiles from the solar wind, from impactors of all sizes, and from volatiles expelled from the interior during volcanic eruptions have all interacted with the lunar surface, leaving a volatile record that can be used to understand the processes that enable processing, transport, sequestration, and loss of volatiles from the lunar system. Recent discoveries have shown the lunar system to be complex, featuring emerging recognition of chemistry unanticipated from the Apollo era, confounding issues regarding transport of volatiles to the lunar poles, the role of the lunar regolith as a sink for volatiles, and the potential for active volatile dynamics in the polar cold traps. While much has been learned since the overturn of the “Moon is dry” paradigm by innovative sample and spacecraft measurements, the data point to a more complex lunar volatile environment than is currently perceived.”