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NASA Confirms Existence Of Water On The Moon

 Long suspected by ASA, water on the moon is only found in icy, challenging-to-navigate craters close to its poles.

According to the idea, water would have a higher chance of maintaining stability in those permanently shaded craters than in the regions of the moon that are exposed to sunlight and are subject to erratic temperature changes.

The best proof to date that there is water on the moon, and not just in these remote regions, is now being reported by two new studies.

Future plans for lunar — and deep space — exploration may be significantly affected if NASA can verify this research and figure out how to extract the water (still a big "if").


Water on the Moon

In the 1990s, researchers found the first chemical traces of water on the moon.

They weren't certain, though, whether what they were finding was hydroxyl or its chemical cousin, molecular water (H2O) (HO). We can drink the first; the second is simply drain cleaning.

With a recent study published in Nature Astronomy, scientists from NASA have finally answered that query.

They detected the molecular water-specific light signature using equipment on board the modified Boeing 747 Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), which has a large telescope.


Lead author Casey Honniball told MIT Technology Review, "This is the first time we can declare with the assurance that the water molecule is present on the lunar surface.


Additionally, the water they found was in the Clavius Crater, which receives sunlight, rather than one that is always dark.


According to Honniball, "We didn't realize that water could exist on the surface of the moon while it is lighted.


The reason this water is able to survive, according to the experts, maybe that it is protected from the sun by soil grains or glass beads.


Water Across the Lunar Surface

The same day as the SOFIA researchers, a team led by the University of Colorado, Boulder published their own investigation into the presence of water on the moon.

They discovered that 15,000 square miles of the lunar surface may be continuously shadowed using data gathered by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a tiny spacecraft that has been orbiting the moon since 2009.


Water will be easier to acquire for drinking and rocket fuel if we're right.


In addition to being in large craters, some of the places that are always in darkness are only a centimeter broad, and the researchers believe that since they are never exposed to direct sunlight, they may also hold water.

Lead author Paul Hayne told MIT Technology Review, "Instead of just a few giant cold traps within 'craters with names,' there's a vast galaxy of little cold traps spread out throughout the whole arctic region."


Hayne noted that these supplies would be far simpler for astronauts to access, saving them from having to descend into the moon's vast, icy craters, which are among the solar system's coldest known locations.


In a press release, he stated, "If we're right, water is going to be more accessible for drinking water, for rocket fuel, and everything else that NASA needs water for."


Mining Moonshot

Before any astronauts begin mining and collecting water from the lunar surface, however, there is still a lot of research to be done.

For one thing, no one has actually discovered water everywhere they think it might be yet, thus the CU Boulder team's observation is based on computer models and pictures.

In terms of the SOFIA research, we still need to determine how challenging it would be to collect water from the moon's bright regions; this task might be made even more challenging if the water molecules are genuinely protected by glass.


According to Honniball, "the way to get the water out would be to melt the glass, so that the water may be released." "In comparison to some other procedures, this is a time-consuming operation." 


However, if it turns out that there is more water on the moon than previously believed and that it is also more accessible, this might be advantageous for both our lunar missions and our ambitions to explore other regions of the solar system.


Jacob Bleacher, the chief exploration scientist at NASA, stated in a news release that "water is a critical resource, both for scientific purposes and for usage by our explorers." "We can bring less water and more equipment to help permit new scientific discoveries if we can exploit the resources at the moon."

Reference: Nature Astronomy

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