NASA announced a few moments ago that it had discovered the existence of water on the lunar surface. The Stratospheric Infrared Astronomy Observatory (SOFIA), installed aboard a Boeing 747SP performing stratospheric flights, was able to confirm the presence of water molecules (H2O) in the Clavius crater, located on the visible face of the Moon, which is visible from Earth.
Previous observations of the Moon’s surface have identified a form of hydrogen, indistinguishable from water or hydroxyl (OH). SOFIA was able to improve this analysis and determine that it was water, in the order of 345 milliliters (a small bottle of water) per cubic meter, at this location.
“Now we know it’s there,” said Paul Hertz, director of the astrophysics division of NASA’s science missions directory. “This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface and raises intriguing questions about the resources we need to explore deep space.”
NASA discovers water on the moon’s sunny surface
This presence of water does not mean that the Moon can be colonized easily. There is a hundred times more water in the Sahara desert than what SOFIA detected on the Moon, but even with a very low volume, this presence of H2O in our natural satellite allows us to think of new options for them. man’s next trips to the moon.
In addition, a study published in Nature speaks of “cold traps”, microcraters that hold ice water at minus 160 degrees Celsius. “Tens of billions” of these craters are present on the moon. By adding all these sources, this represents a total water surface of 40,000 km2 which is concentrated there, more than half at the South Pole.
These discoveries come before the Artemis III mission, which will send a man and a woman to the Moon in 2024. The space agency wants to establish a lasting human presence there until the end of the decade. : water in Clavius could allow easier implantation. If it is possible to take advantage of the Moon’s resources, instead of water, missions will be able to carry more other types of materials and equipment.
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