Byline by- Vinayak Heliwal
Announcing a ‘breakthrough discovery’ about Moon, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said that it’s mission SOFIA, has confirmed the presence of water molecules on the sunlit surface of our closet cosmic neighbor – the Moon.
The scientists confirmed that there is a presence of water in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth on the Lunar surface. This crater is located in the Moon’s southern hemisphere. They found out that it’s predominantly H20 that exists on the Lunar surface and not hydroxyl.
Moreover most importantly this exciting discovery states that now water may be distributed across the surface and not limited to cold, shadowed places.”
“NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy [SOFIA] has confirmed, for the first time, water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. This discovery indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places, Nasa said.
“Data from this location reveal water in concentrations of 100 to 412 parts per million – roughly equivalent to a 12-ounce bottle of water – trapped in a cubic meter of soil spread across the lunar surface,” Nasa said.
Casey Honniball, the lead author who published the results from her graduate thesis work at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu, was quoted by Nasa as saying: “Prior to the SOFIA observations, we knew there was some kind of hydration…But we didn’t know how much, if any, was actually water molecules – like we drink every day – or something more like drain cleaner.”
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.
While previous observations have indicated millions of tons of ice in the permanently shadowed craters of the moon’s poles, a pair of studies in the journal Natural Astronomy take the availability of lunar surface water to a new level.
NASA is planning a return of astronauts to the moon, a mission envisioned as paving the way for a later journey of people to Mars. Accessible sources where water can be found would be beneficial for the crew people.