Water discovered in sunlit parts of the moon

Water discovered in sunlit parts of the moon

Li has been hunting for water on the lunar surface for years and was part of a team of scientists involved in the detection of water ice at the moon's poles in 2018. This is four times larger than measured in lunar soil samples in the lab - highlighting the gaps in our understanding of water on the Moon.

While studying the moon's surface at a wavelength of 6.1 microns with SOFIA, the team behind the recent paper was able to distinguish water from other chemicals containing hydrogen.

The next step is to understand what creates the water on the moon - theories include micrometeorites colliding onto the lunar surface and deposit water molecules in small crystals, and solar winds transporting hydrogen to the lunar surface, which reacts with the oxygen present in the soil. And most of it is permanently in shadow. The water was found in the Clavius crater in the Moon's Southern hemisphere which is visible from Earth, it said. "Some are producing water, and some are bound to get stuck here". "To this, NASA's official handle replied", H2O? It could simply be trapped between grains of soil, or embedded in tiny glass beads produced by meteor impacts, or a combination of both.

The only way for this water to survive on the sunlit lunar surfaces where it was observed was to be embedded within mineral grains, protecting it from the frigid and foreboding environment. The second research speculates that water ice may be trapped in tiny pockets or tiny craters scattered all over the surface of the Moon, theoretically rendering water more plentiful and available than we could ever expect.

Extracting lunar water is seen as a key requirement for supplying lunar operations with drinkable water, breathable air and locally produced energy.

This is an interesting juxtaposition to planetary bodies like Ceres and Mars, which have large, continuous areas of ice around the poles. Blue Origin is already heading up an industry effort to build a lunar lander that could touch down someday in the moon's south polar region.

But how it creates and maintains water on its surface is a new puzzle.

SOFIA measured water concentrations of 100 to 412 parts per million. "Between us and the moon is a lot of water", explains Jessica Sunshine, an astronomer at the University of Maryland who was part of the Deep Impact mission that helped detect a signal for water on the moon in 2009.

But future missions to the moon, like landing the first woman and next man near the south lunar pole by 2024 through NASA's Artemis program, could reveal more information.

The newly published findings suggest that extracting the water won't be as easy as melting down ice cubes.

NASA has a number of robotic missions meant to help identify and characterize water ice, from orbiters to payloads on commercial lunar landers to the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) mission.

In this case, the astronauts didn't detect ice or water in a re-usable form. He did not elaborate, though, on any specific plans to use them to study water there.

These studies are changing the way scientists look at the moon. "But we didn't know how much, if any, was actually water molecules - like we drink every day - or something more like drain cleaner". "This is a ideal opportunity for VIPER to follow up on these results". She has two hours of observing time on SOFIA, likely in the spring of 2021, for additional observations, and has submitted a proposal for up to 72 hours of SOFIA time. A House spending bill passed in July rejected that proposal and funded SOFIA, while the Senate has yet to release its version of a spending bill. These are places where the sun doesn't shine, resulting in temperatures that always stay low enough to keep the water frozen in the ground. "It is important to note here that the saccharin intake we used in our study is practically more than double the average intake of the most avid consumers of saccharin in the U.S."For context, the maximum acceptable daily amount of saccharin is 400 milligrams, which is far more than anyone would consume on a regular basis as the artificial sweetener is significantly sweeter than table sugar."Because it is 200-700 times sweeter than sugar, you only need a touch to deliver the same sweetness as sugar", says Amidor".

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