Mehdi Benna, CSST, Confirms Presence of Neon in Moon’s Exosphere

Mehdi Benna, a Center for Space Science and Technology planetary scientist, is the lead author of a paper confirming the presence of neon in the Moon’s exosphere. The paper was published in Geophysical Research Letters and has received widespread international media attention.

Mehdi BennaIn the paper, Benna describes observations from NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, known as LADEE. Though many have suspected that the Moon’s exosphere contained neon, Benna’s paper is the first to confirm its presence. “The presence of neon in the exosphere of the moon has been a subject of speculation since the Apollo missions, but no credible detections were made,” Benna said. “We were very pleased to not only finally confirm its presence, but to show that it is relatively abundant.”

Benna spoke to Discovery News about the importance of the finding, saying, “It’s critical to learn about the lunar exosphere before sustained human exploration substantially alters it.”

Additional Media Coverage:
NASA’s LADEE spacecraft finds neon in lunar atmosphere (Astronomy Now)
NASA spacecraft finds glowing neon gas on moon (Zee News)
Nasa Ladee Probe Finds Neon in the Moon’s Atmosphere (NDTV Gadgets)
Radical! Neon Found on the Moon (Space.com)
The moon has a NEON atmosphere: Ladee spacecraft confirms presence of the gas for the first time (Daily Mail)
NASA spacecraft finds glowing neon gas on moon (Bharat Press)