NASA detects water on the sunny side of the Moon

James Marshall
January 14, 2021

Scientists had previously thought that the moon's sunlit side would be unable to hold water, but it would seem that is false, and there is even some water in areas that are exposed to sunlight. As stated in the study, the title "Sophia discovers molecular water on the sun and moon,"Scientists have detailed evidence that water is predicted to be trapped in naturally occurring mirrors on the moon's solar regions".

The findings announced today arguably represent one more small step toward that giant leap. After ruling out several alternate methods for how water could have been trapped within the dust, the researchers write that its specific characteristics "almost certainly means that the water detected by SOFIA resides within the interior of lunar grains or is trapped between grains shielded from the harsh lunar environment, allowing it to survive a lunation". The 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon mission is celebrated July 20, 1999.

Because the moon has such a thin atmosphere, any unprotected water on the sunlit surface of the moon should be quickly lost to space, and yet, scientists have not found irrefutable evidence that the water molecules are there.

Another mystery that remains unsolved is the source of the lunar water. The frigid craters are dangerously cold, perhaps approaching -400 degrees Fahrenheit, rendering advanced technologies virtually tricky for them to enter.

"Water is a valuable resource, for both scientific purposes and for use by our explorers", said Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

An enticing idea for those planning to place a base or village on the lunar surface is to remove water ice from the Moon.

"It could be used as drinking water, breathable oxygen, and rocket fuel". What's more, the world's richest individual sees the moon as a key outpost in his centuries-spanning vision for expanding humanity's influence beyond Earth. NASA has often been very outspoken regarding extracting some water ice available on the Moon to fund the project. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine also says that we know there are "hundreds of billions of tons of water ice on the surface of the Earth". What we have are figures focused on the last couple of decades of a few detections. NASA later deployed an LCROSS spacecraft that rammed into the Moon in 2009, stirring up material and proving that there was water in any sort.

This "suggests that water could be much more widespread on the Moon than previously thought", Hayne told AFP. We have no clue what luna ice looks like.

Although an earlier lunar exploration failed to reveal water, a modified Boeing 747SP airplane called SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) flying at up to 45,000 feet and carrying a 106-inch-diameter telescope was able to detect water molecules with its infrared camera.

While scientists had previously suspected that water was present in the moon's shaded, cold parts - such as its poles, where it would have been born - a. Its survival came as a treat. "We didn't realize that when it is illuminated, water will live on the surface of the Moon", she says. 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.

Yet contrary to this belief, the water was discovered near the Moon's South Pole, in an area which is reached by the sun.

They were able to reconstruct the size and distribution of these little craters using high-resolution images and lunar temperature measurements taken from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. These are tiny and convenient for astronauts to enter, unlike the massive craters at the south pole.

Those micro cold traps may sound as if they're too small to bother with, but Hayne and his colleagues say they might actually be the best places to visit.

What this all means is that the water on earth's largest satellite could be held in around 15,000 square miles of shadow in various shapes and sizes.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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