Aerial Observatory Confirms Water Molecules On The Moon

Aerial Observatory Confirms Water Molecules On The Moon

Water has been discovered on Earth's moon in quantities much more widespread than previously believed, NASA scientists announced on Monday.

The discovery was confirmed thanks to the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). NASA's Paul Hertz says the findings could have enormous implications.

"This first important thing is: is this water on the moon useful as a resource for our future explorers?"

The water molecules - consisting of one oxygen and two hydrogen molecules - were detected via SOFIA's infrared spectrometer.

The new research published Monday suggests water is indeed scattered across the Moon's surface, including in areas exposed to direct sunlight and in tiny pockets cast in permanent shade.

Could this be the beginning of the next giant leap for humankind - after scientists at the USA space agency Nasa said they'd found unambiguous evidence of water on sunlit parts of the moon's surface?

A high resolution mosaic of our moon's north polar region is seen in this undated handout image taken by scientists using cameras aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). These small pieces of space rock - only a few hundredths of an inch or so wide - rain down on the lunar surface, potentially forming beadlike glass structures upon impact.

Today researchers revealed the "unambiguous detection of molecular water" on the Moon and areas called "cold traps" which could contain frozen water.

"We don't know yet if we can use it as a resource", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, but he added that learning more about the water is crucial to USA plans to explore the moon.

That mining would be a boon to future Moon missions, says Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters. Alternatively, water could be hanging out in the lunar ground, just like here on Earth, protected from the hot sun by grains of surrounding soil. Supports paid courses Cryogenic Fluid Management And technologies related to energy storage and power generation on the lunar surface.

Unlike previous detections of water in permanently shadowed parts of lunar craters, scientists have now detected the molecule in sunlit regions of the Moon's surface.

The researchers found water in concentrations of 100 to 412 parts per million - roughly equivalent to a 12-ounce bottle of water - trapped in a cubic metre of soil spread across the lunar surface.

The molecules are so far apart that they are in neither liquid nor solid form, said lead researcher Casey Honniball, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Water has been definitively found on the Moon, Nasa has said, and there are a set of "water traps" that could hold it stably. Isro had, therefore, chosen the south pole as Chandrayaan-2's landing site in 2019 to expand its water exploration.

More than 15,400 square miles (40,000 square kilometers) of lunar terrain have the capability to trap water in the form of ice, according to a team led by the University of Colorado's Paul Hayne. He adds that if the water is so trapped, it would be relatively easy to melt the glassy materials and, in essence, "mine" the water. They might even be able to split the molecules to make rocket fuel.

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