The fact that water is on the Moon has long been suspected, but NASA has provided evidence that water appears on the Moon in the form of microscopic ice particles. Research independent of NASA’s excitement estimates where water can be found. These are the so-called cool traps, places that are in permanent shadow. Both studies were published Tuesday in the journal Nature.
Previous research could only determine that there are oxygen and hydrogen molecules linked to the Moon. “On Earth, that means water in particular, but you can not be so sure of the moon,” said physicist Nick Totil of the University of Western Sydney. Due to limited measurement possibilities, scientists could not determine whether it was water or a hydroxyl group with one oxygen atom and only one hydrogen atom.
However, Sofia (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) is now greatly assisted by scientists. This Boeing 747, specially adapted for an air observatory, orbits above the clouds at an altitude of about 12 km. Among other things, it is equipped with a unique sensor that is able to capture the spectral signature of water with dimensions of 6 micrometers. It is unique to water and its discovery is proof enough.
“We had indications that water could be on the illuminated surface of the moon. Now we know for sure that he is there. “The discovery will help us understand the lunar surface and raise questions about the resources needed to explore deep space,” said Paul Hertz, director of astrophysics at NASA’s Directorate of Science Missions.
Drier than the Sahara
Confirmation of water on the Moon does not mean that scientists have discovered hidden lakes with water or areas of glacial. A study of cold pockets shows that water particles are present in a ratio of 100 to 400 per million particles. For a better idea, it is about 360 milliliters of water per cubic meter of soil. Such a place, according to NASA, is about 100 times drier than the Sahara.
However, the study also states that these miniature pockets cover a total of 40,000 square kilometers of lunar area, which already means an amount that can be counted on.
“When we put them together, these studies tell us that there really is water on the moon and that it is probably especially in the two polar regions and a little more at the south pole,” Tothill said. “And that tells us where and how to look for water on the moon, whether from robots or human explorers?” He added.
Water can be used to produce oxygen or to fuel flights deeper into the solar system. However, this is still just music for the very distant future. However, it is extremely important for possible technology research in this direction that scientists are now confident.