NASA said that molecular water had been discovered on a sunlit surface of the Moon, suggesting water may not be limited to cold, shadowed places.
US space agency NASA has confirmed the presence on water on the sunlit portion of lunar surface.
Making startling revelations, NASA said that molecular water had been discovered on a sunlit surface of the Moon, suggesting water may not be limited to cold, shadowed places.
The announcement was made based on studies conducted by NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).
SOFIA detected water molecules in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon's southern hemisphere.
Previous observations of the Moon's surface detected some form of hydrogen, but were unable to distinguish between water and its close chemical relative, hydroxyl (OH).
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.
As a comparison, the Sahara desert has 100 times the amount of water than what SOFIA detected in the lunar soil. Despite the small amounts, the discovery raises new questions about how water is created and how it persists on the harsh, airless lunar surface, NASA said in a statement.
Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said: "We had indications that H2O -- the familiar water we know -- might be present on the sunlit side of the Moon. Now we know it is there. This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface and raises intriguing questions about resources relevant for deep space exploration."
Nasa hopes to head to the Moon in 2024, taking the first person in more than 50 years and the first woman ever to step foot on the lunar surface. By the end of the decade, the space agency wants to have established a 'sustainable human presence' on the Moon.
Last Updated 26, Oct 2020, 10:36 PM