Lunar Missions Reveal Moon May Have Widespread Water

Rodiano Bonacci
Febbraio 24, 2018

That would mean that the water on the Moon has been formed in the deep underground minerals' formations of the Moon and the water remained captured in there.

NASA obtained evidence that water found on the Moon is spread broadly over the surface.

"We find that it doesn't matter what time of day or which latitude we look at; the signal indicating water always seems to be present", Joshua Bandfield, the lead author of the study, said in a statement.

The research team associated with the study also found that water present on the moon is not attached loosely to the lunar surface.

If the Moon has enough water, and if it is reasonably convenient to access, future explorers might be able to use it as drinking water or to convert it into hydrogen and oxygen for rocket fuel or oxygen to breathe.

But to get there, the researchers have to find out how that happened on the Moon. At the time being, scientists are yet working on resolving the water on the Moon mystery.

The study's conclusions show that water (H2O) or OH are produced when the solar winds hit the lunar surface.

The moon produces a mixture of emitted and reflected light that glows when heated by the sun. The team applied this temperature model to data gathered earlier by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper, a visible and infrared spectrometer that NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, provided for India's Chandrayaan-1 orbiter.

Scientists used a model and detailed surface temperature maps made from the measurements of the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment instrument aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

The new findings indicating more widespread distribution as well as relatively stable moon water suggests that the water may be present as OH or hydroxyl, which is made up of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom and is a more reactive relative of H2O. OH, also called hydroxyl, doesn't stay on its own for long, preferring to attack molecules or attach itself chemically to them. Therefore, it would need to be extracted from minerals before it could be used.

"By putting some limits on how mobile the water or the OH on the surface is, we can help constrain how much water could reach the cold traps in the polar regions", said Michael Poston of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.

At present, the scientists are still trying to figure out what the discovery tells about the moon water's source.

"Some of these scientific problems are very, very hard, and it's only by drawing on multiple resources from different missions that we are able to hone in on an answer", said NASA scientist John Keller in the announcement.

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