Astrophysics: Water on the Moon

Had Surveyor 3 landed on the moon's Ocean of Storms some 4 billion years ago, it might have created an even bigger splash than it made last week. For early in lunar history, Nobel Laureate Harold Urey told the National Academy of Sciences last week, the moon may have had an atmosphere, rainfall, lakes and even oceans.

Unlike most scientists, Chemist Urey believes that water—not lava—formed the smooth lunar plains and filled-in depressions revealed in photographs taken by Ranger and Orbiter spacecraft. The dark plains, he says, "look precisely like the bottoms of dried-up, primitive oceans or lakes." And material...

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