World News – CA – Water is more widespread on the lunar surface than expected, scientists report


The only way for this water to survive on the sunny lunar surfaces where it was observed was to be drowned in mineral grains, protecting it from the frigid and disturbing environment

The moon does not have the masses of liquid water that characterize the Earth, but scientists said on Monday that lunar water is more widespread than previously known, with water molecules trapped in mineral grains on the surface and more water perhaps hidden in patches of ice residing in permanent shadows

While research 11 years ago indicated that water was relatively widespread in small amounts on the Moon, a team of scientists are now reporting the first unambiguous detection of water molecules on the lunar surface In the same time, another team reports that the moon has around 40,000 square kilometers of permanent shadows that could potentially harbor pockets of water hidden in the form of ice

Water is a precious resource, and a relatively abundant lunar presence could prove important for future astronauts and robotic missions seeking to extract and use water for purposes such as providing drinking water or a combustible ingredient

A team led by Casey Honniball from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland detected molecular water on the lunar surface, trapped in natural glasses or between grains of debris Previous observations have suffered from the ‘ambiguity between water and its hydroxylated molecular cousin, but the new detection used a method that gave unambiguous results

Water is not only limited to the polar region It is more extensive than we thought

The only way for this water to survive on the sunlit lunar surfaces where it was observed was to be encrusted in mineral grains, protecting it from the frigid and ominous environment. The researchers used data from the SOFIA airborne observatory, a Boeing 747SP modified to carry a telescope

« A lot of people think the detection I made was water ice, which is not true. It’s just the water molecules – because they’re so dispersed that they don’t interact with each other to form water ice or even liquid water, ”Honniball said

The second study, also published in the journal Nature Astronomy, focused on the so-called cold traps on the moon, regions of its surface that exist in a state of perpetual darkness where temperatures are below around 260 degrees Fahrenheit (negative 163 degrees Celsius) It’s cold enough that frozen water can remain stable for billions of years

Using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, researchers led by University of Colorado planetologist Paul Hayne, Boulder detected what could be tens of billions of tiny shadows, many of which don’t are no bigger than a small coin Most are located in the polar regions

“Our research shows that a multitude of previously unknown regions of the moon may harbor water ice,” said Hayne “Our results suggest that water may be much more widespread in the polar regions of the Moon than previously thought, which would make it easier to access, retrieve and analyze »

NASA is planning the return of the astronauts to the moon, a mission that should pave the way for a later trip with a crew to Mars Accessible sources where water can be harvested on the moon would benefit these efforts

« Water is not just limited to the polar region It is larger than we thought, » said Honniball

“The origin of water on the moon is one of the big questions we’re trying to answer through this and other research,” said Hayne “Right now the main contenders are comets, asteroids or small interplanetary dust particles, the solar wind and the moon itself by the outgassing of volcanic eruptions »

The Earth is a humid world, with vast salty oceans, large freshwater lakes and ice caps that serve as reservoirs of water

« As our closest planetary companion, understanding the origins of water on the moon can also shed light on the origins of water on Earth – still an open question in planetary science, » Hayne added.

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Moon, NASA, lunar water, surface, stratospheric observatory for infrared astronomy

News from the world – CA – Water is more widespread on the lunar surface than expected, report scientists



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