“Sophia” Flying Observatory … Boeing 747 contributes to discovering moon waters


An exciting discovery announced by NASA, Monday, about the presence of water on the luminous surface of the moon, would play an important role in any planning for a sustainable presence on the surface of the moon.

NASA revealed this at an online press conference, which is an achievement that we are counting on to learn more about the moon before 2024.

The new evidence, which settled a lot of confusion among scientists during the past decades, was confirmed by the Stratosphere Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, which is known by the acronym “Sophia”, and the results of his findings were published in the scientific journal “Nature Astronomy”.

Water particles were detected in the largest crater that can be seen from Earth, which is in the southern half of the moon.

An exciting discovery!

Previous missions only found ice blocks

Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Department at NASA headquarters, said: “We have had indications that the water in its composition that we know exists in the region that the sun shines on the surface of the moon.”

He noted that this new discovery will raise many questions about what we know about the moon’s surface.

The NASA statement indicated that the new discovery means rethinking how water is formed and continues to exist on the surface of the moon devoid of air.

The importance of moon water

This discovery has scientific and practical importance for NASA, especially since water is an important resource in space and one of the important components of life.

NASA also aspires to know more about this within the framework of the Artemus program, which aims to send a male and female astronaut to land on the surface of the moon in 2024, and establish a sustainable human presence there. Use it or not.

“We knew there was a humid atmosphere, but it was not determined whether it was water or not? We did not know how much, and was it clean water or more like polluted water,” said Casey Hannibal, the researcher who published the results of her study in her graduate thesis.

Jacob Blecher, a senior scientist at NASA, said that water is an important resource for scientific purposes, and for use by explorers, and if it was found on the moon, and we were able to use it as a resource there, then less water could be carried and more equipment and materials needed by scientists and astronauts there. .

Prospects for origination and storage

Hannibal pointed to the Sophia observatory that shows the presence of water on the surface of the moon, and there is something that generates this water and keeps it in the soil.

NASA has put some possibilities that it comes through “fine meteorites” carrying water particles, which are deposited in the soil upon collision with them.

The other possibility is a two-stage process, the first is that the winds of the sun create hydrogen minerals, and the second is that it interacts with the oxygen-carrying minerals in the soil, causing a chemical reaction in which water is found.

According to the possibilities published by the researchers in the journal Nature Astronomy, this water may be confined to small areas in the shade, and because of the sun’s reflection on it, its temperature remains below freezing.

Scientists did not find an explanation for how it was stored inside the soil except through the fact that it was confined to small bubbles in the soil, which were formed from the high temperatures produced by meteorites, or that they existed between grains of lunar soil, and protected from sunlight.

Previous discoveries

Exploration missions will focus on mapping the locations of water on the moon

Exploration missions will focus on mapping the locations of water on the moon

The results of the Sophia Observatory came to resolve a question that baffled scientists for several years, and scientific missions could not answer it. In the first flight of the moon in 1969, it was believed that it was dry.

But subsequent scientific missions over the course of two decades were able to monitor the presence of ice in permanently shaded pits, and in the Cassini and Chandrayaan missions, some kind of moisture was found in the sunlit areas, but it was not determined whether it was just hydrogen or water.

Sophia Observatory

Scientists wanted to experiment with the Sophia observatory to capture data from the moon, and they discovered the presence of water

Scientists wanted to experiment with the Sophia observatory to capture data from the moon, and they discovered the presence of water

The Sofia Observatory is a plane carrying a telescope more than 7 meters or 1.6 inches in diameter, and it weighs 17 tons.

This observatory plane is nothing but a Boeing 747SB, bearing the American and German flags, and it is operated by NASA and the German Aeronautics and Space Center.

It took its name from its flight within the stratosphere, which ranges between 12 and 50 thousand kilometers, which gives it the advantage of seeing space in a clearer way as it gets rid of the opacity imposed by the Earth’s atmosphere, which includes water vapor.

The giant flying telescope records infrared radiation coming from space, and despite its first flight in 2009, it has the ability to fly 100 exploratory rides annually.

The test that led to the discovery

“This discovery came from what is essentially being tested,” said Nassim Rangula, a researcher at NASA’s Ames Research Center.

He added that we were not sure if the Sofia observatory would capture data when flying and point the telescope at the moon or not.

New missions

The cost of the Sophia Observatory was about one billion dollars

The cost of the Sophia Observatory was about one billion dollars

After this discovery, additional trips will be made to the Sophia observatory to monitor the moon, during different stages, to find out how this water is produced, stored and moved through the moon.

Maps of water resources on the surface of the moon will also be created, through other exploration missions such as “Viber”.


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