NASA Discovers of Water on Sunlit surface of Moon

Katie Ramirez
October 28, 2020

NASA announced Monday it has confirmed the presence of water on the sunlit surface of the moon, marking a historic discovery with potential implications for USA plans to send a manned crew to Mars. NASA reported that on October 27, citing Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), US space agency recently made a helluva announcement where they informed the world that they have discovered water on the moon's surface.

"Prior to the SOFIA observations, we knew there was some kind of hydration".

But the discovery raises new questions about the abundance and distribution of water on the moon, which scientists previously believed to be exclusively locked up in polar ice caps and at the bottom of only the moon's deepest craters.

Previously, SOFIA managed to find traces of "some form of hydrogen", but it was too hard to tell the difference between the actual water (H2O) and hydroxyl (OH), which are really similar in terms of chemical composition.

In one study, scientists found evidence that water molecules can be found in subtle, trace amounts in the moon's sunlit areas almost 100 times drier than the Sahara Desert, reports Ashley Strickland for CNN. As part of the Artemis program, NASA scientists have been working on lunar rovers capable of drilling one meter below the surface to look for and sample water ice on the poles.

For years, scientists have known that water and ice exist on the moon in some form, likely at its poles in deep, dark craters.

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"These glass beads are about the size of a pencil tip and protect the water from the harsh lunar environment", Honniball said. "Water may be delivered by tiny meteorites that deposit it on impact".

For a mission created to look at distant, dim objects such as black holes, star clusters, and galaxies, SOFIA's spotlight on Earth's nearest and brightest neighbor was a departure from business as usual.

Even though NASA had observed some form of hydrogen on the Moon's surface, it was unable to differentiate between water and hydroxyl, its close chemical relative. The results can be found here.

SOFIA is a joint project of Nasa and the German Aerospace Center.

"Water is a valuable resource, for both scientific purposes and for use by our explorers", Jacob Bleacher, a chief exploration scientist at NASA, says in a press release.

Using its Faint Object infraRed CAmera for the SOFIA Telescope (FORCAST), the researchers said SOFIA was able to pick up the specific wavelength unique to water molecules and discovered a relatively surprising concentration in the sunny Clavius Crater.

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