Who said that it’s mandatory for water to exist only on Earth? The Moon once again shows us that it can stand out, as NASA recently confirmed the existence of water on our natural satellite. More precisely, it’s about the sunlit surface of the Moon, but scientists are skeptical about the chances of using the water as a resource.
The discovery was made thanks to NASA’s SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy). SOFIA takes a large telescope into the Earth’s atmosphere, at maximum altitudes of 45,000 feet. A special infrared camera was used, and it can discern between water’s wavelength of 6.1 microns and that of its close chemical relative hydroxyl (OH).
The Clavius crater is under the spotlight
The Clavius crater from the Moon is the place where the water has been located as molecules. A statement from NASA explains more:
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,
But how could water get to the Moon? One possible explanation is a similar one to the Panspermia theory, the one that claims that the first amino-acids (the so-called building blocks of life) were brought to Earth by comets and asteroids. Therefore, micrometeorites hitting the Moon could have been delivering all that water. Here’s the video presentation of the discovery:
Scientists using NASA’s telescope on an airplane, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, discovered water on a sunlit surface of the Moon for the first time. SOFIA is a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that allows astronomers to study the solar system and beyond in ways that are not possible with ground-based telescopes. Molecular water, H2O, was found in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth in the Moon’s southern hemisphere. This discovery indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places.
The new findings were published in Nature Astronomy.