There are no bodies of water on the surface of the moon like those that distinguish the planet, but scientists said on Monday that the water of the moon is more dispersed than previously thought.And they added, “Water particles are trapped inside mineral grains on the surface, with the possibility of more of them in ice spots in areas of permanent shade that do not reach the sun’s rays.”
While research 11 years ago indicated that water is relatively scattered in small quantities on the surface of the moon, a team of scientists is currently talking about the first unambiguous discovery of water molecules on the surface of the moon.
Meanwhile, another team reports that there are nearly 40,000 square kilometers of permanent shadows that may contain pockets of water in the form of ice.
Water is a precious natural resource, and its abundant presence on the moon may become very important for future missions of astronauts or robots, which seek to extract water and use it for purposes such as drinking or making fuel.
A team led by Casey Honeybull of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland discovered water particles on the surface of the moon trapped in grains of debris or in metal fragments called natural glass due to the similarities between them and glass.
The previous visions and observations were of a degree of ambiguity and ambiguity with which it is impossible to differentiate between water and hydroxyl, which is similar in the molecular structure, but the new discovery relied on a method whose results were clear and not shrouded in mystery.
The only way for this water to continue to exist on areas of the moon’s surface lit by sunlight is for it to be trapped in mineral grains, which protects it from the frigid environment and harsh conditions. The researchers used data from the Sofia Airborne Observatory, which is a Boeing 747 SB that has been modified to carry a telescope.
“Many people think that their discovery is water ice. This is not correct. They are only water molecules. Because they are spread apart over a large area, they do not interact with each other to form water ice or even liquid water,” Honeybull said.
The second study, which was also published in the journal Nature Astronomy, focused on the so-called cold traps on the moon, which are areas of its surface that are enveloped by the eternal dark veil, with temperatures of no less than minus 163 degrees Celsius. This cold is enough to keep the frozen water at rest for billions of years.
Using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconsence Orbiter spacecraft, researchers led by planetary scientist Paul Hain of the University of Colorado in Boulder discovered shadows as small as tens of billions, many of them no more than the size of a small coin. Most of these shades are located in the polar regions.
“Our research shows that a large number of areas of the moon that were previously unknown to us could be home to water ice … Our results indicate that water may be more prevalent in the moon’s polar regions than previously thought, which makes the possibility of It is more accessible, extracted and analyzed. ”
NASA plans to return astronauts to the moon, a mission viewed from an angle as paving the way for a later flight carrying a crew to Mars. Resources available to find water on the moon’s surface will be beneficial for these efforts.
“The origin of water on the moon is one of the difficult questions that we are trying to answer through this research and others … Comets, asteroids and small particles from planet dust, solar winds and the moon itself are competing to explain this existence by emitting gases from volcanic eruptions,” Hain added.
“Because it is our closest companion, understanding the origin of water on the moon can also shine a ray of light at the origin of Earth’s water, which is an open question in planetary science,” Hain explained.