NASA Announces Discovery of Water on Sunlit Surface of the Moon

NASA Announces Discovery of Water on Sunlit Surface of the Moon

A 2008-09 orbital expedition detected the signature of water in shadowy lunar hollows.

Nasa's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (Sofia) found the molecules.

The most common hidden pockets of water across the lunar surface could be trapped in tiny penny-size ice patches that live in permanent shadows, the researchers discovered.

We've suspected the Moon has lots of frozen water ice tucked away in craters at the north and south poles that never see the Sun. Over the last quarter-century, scientists have built up evidence, primarily from spacecraft missions, that water ice exists on the moon. But the signature of molecular water at the wavelength used in this research could also be associated with hydroxyl, which is oxygen bonded with hydrogen.

Well, Monday came and the news is here: there's water on the Moon. Second, although the amount of water found is a small amount, it raises the question of how water is created, stored, and persists on a rough airless surface such as the moon.

Our moon has water.

Duffy adds: "Water can directly support astronauts on a planned Moon-base, used to grow food on long-duration missions to Mars, and even split into literal rocket fuel for powering our satellites and rockets across the Solar System".

The observatory in the 747 is created to fly high enough above the Earth that much of the water vapor doesn't mess with observations - that gives it a clear shot at scouring the lunar surface for signs of H2O. They'll have a better idea of the sources "if we can get down on the surface and analyze samples of the ice", Hayne said.

Five quick questions about finding water on the moon answered

One scientist had in 2009 said that harvesting water from the lunar surface could dramatically reduce the costs of long-term human activities on the Moon. NASA says they were able to detect between 100 and 412 parts per million in an area spanning a cubic meter of soil, which is around the equivalent of a standard 12-ounce bottle of water - to put that in context, NASA points out that "the Sahara desert has 100 times the amount of water" vs. what SOFIA was able to detect. The scientists also say that water molecules are so spread out that they can not form even ice particles, not to mention liquid water. Will it be easier to survive the extremely cold polar environments and tap into deep shadowed craters for water, he asked, or to dig into the moon at the milder middle latitudes in search of water.

A team led by Casey Honniball of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland detected molecular water on the lunar surface, trapped within natural glasses or between debris grains.

Furthermore, NASA says that learning more about water on the moon could support long-term exploration under its Artemis lunar exploration program, as part of which NASA wants to send the next order and the first woman to the moon by 2024.

Where has water been found on the moon before?

© Courtesy of NASA's Ames Research Center/Youtube "Something is generating the water, and something must be trapping it there". Then, once hydroxyl is formed, radiation from more micrometeorites may be helping to transform OH into H2O.

NASA plans to launch a water-seeking rover named Viper to the moon's south pole by the end of 2022. Researchers estimate that the moon's shadowy areas could contain an abundance of these "micro" cold traps.

"If the water is trapped in glass beads, it might require too much energy to extract it", said Bleacher. "Bringing only the bare necessities as you leave Earth and picking up your supplies there would make it far easier and cheaper to get astronauts off the ground".

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