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Is there likely to be much nitrogen in the Moon's inner crust? My thinking is that if we can extract enough nitrogen from the moon, we may be able to build a Terran space elevator out of Kevlar without waiting for nanotube research to advance further as discussed in more detail in Where will we get nitrogen in space?

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  • $\begingroup$ Interesting question! I edited to remove the "chatty" parts, leaving just the question that needs answering. I'm curious; why specify the inner crust? I'm not sure I know the difference between inner and outer crust, but is there anything wrong with nitrogen from the outer crust? Thanks! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jul 18 '19 at 1:48
  • $\begingroup$ Getting to the inner crust will be a problem. $\endgroup$ – GdD Jul 18 '19 at 8:29
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    $\begingroup$ Could you explain why enough lunar nitrogen is neccessary to be able to build a Terran space elevator out of Kevlar? $\endgroup$ – Uwe Jul 18 '19 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking so we wouldn’t have to launch it off of earth—I don’t know much about the composition of Earth’s upper atmosphere though $\endgroup$ – DJG Jul 18 '19 at 14:13
  • $\begingroup$ As for inner vs outer—the lunarpedia page I read about nitrogen did not mention the outer crust, so I imagined it to be irrelevant $\endgroup$ – DJG Jul 18 '19 at 14:15
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This article from Nature reports that lunar nitrogen is mostly confined near the surface and apparently came from outside sources including Earth. Probably the Moon, with almost no atmosphere and too close to the Sun to allow ammonia ice, has no native nitrogen source and thus no nitrogen beyond what outside sources can penetrate. The abstract also suggests that the nitrogen source would be clarified by comparing our current near-side samples with future samples from the far side.

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