There Is Water on The Moon, Scientists Confirm
For decades, scientists believed the moon is as dry as the pages of a Mathematics textbook. With no atmosphere to shield its surface from solar winds, the moon was assumed to be a giant desert in space.
But a new analysis of data revealed the moon is wetter than we thought. The flying observatory named Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (Sofia), a modified Boeing 747 fitted with a 2.7-meter reflecting telescope, detected water on the moon.
Astronomers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center were surprised to find water molecules on the moon’s landscape.
According to NASA, the water molecules were detected near the moon’s south pole in abundances of about 100 to 400 parts per million H2O. That’s about enough to fill a couple of million swimming pools.
What It Means for Lunar Habitation and Resource Exploitation
With existing technologies today, humans could theoretically harvest these water molecules on the Moon and turn them into potable water, under the right conditions.
Once you get these water particles into liquid form, everything becomes so much easier: it can be treated and used for drinking and bathing or separated into oxygen and hydrogen so astronauts can use them as rocket fuel.
“Water is a very expensive commodity in space,” said Mahesh Anand, professor of planetary science and exploration at the Open University in Milton Keynes in a report by The Guardian.
Scientists are still unsure of what form water takes on the moon. It is possible that their instruments detected water in the form of lunar glass, a type of mineral created by meteorite impacts. Water could also be trapped between the grans of lunar soil as ice, in this case, it would be easier to harvest.
Whatever the case, scientists need to send a rover or a team of astronauts to the moon to drill soil samples. Currently, NASA has a plan to send astronauts back to the Moon by 2024.
Scientists around the world know the discovery is huge, and they zeroed in on finding water first before anything else. Without water, hopes for extracting other resources on the moon remain dim.