The Moon is significantly depleted in volatile elements when compared to Earth, an observation that has resulted in various formation scenarios leading to the loss of volatiles. Sodium is a moderately volatile element that is a lithophile, which can be utilized as a tracer of the volatile history in planetary bodies. It is also well observed in the exosphere of several bodies in our solar system and exoplanetary systems. But lunar surface sodium abundances have so far been measured only in samples brought back to Earth. We report on results from the first effort to provide a global-scale measurement of sodium on the lunar surface using X-ray fluorescent spectra from Chandrayaan-2. A global average of 1.33 ± 0.03 wt% derived here is higher than previously known. Trends in the sodium abundance indicate a long-lived adsorbate component that could explain the higher abundances reported here, which would act as a reservoir that sustains the lunar sodium exosphere.
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