Water found on the moon



On October 26, water was discovered in lunar soil Clavius Crater on the sunlit surface of the moon.

Boeing 747SP aircraft SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy) led to the discovery of water being found in lunar soil.

SOFIA is able to fly at altitudes up to 45,000 feet, and has a 106 in diameter telescope. It was launched in 1977 (Nasa.gov).

Mr. Castleton, Robotics, Engineering, and previous Astronomy teacher at Hillcrest said, “Hydrogen has an emission spectral line at 6 micron wavelength only when it is in a water molecule. SOFIA scanned for these spectral lines and found them coming from the moon.” He continued, “The molecules are believed to be embedded in glass, which is why they can survive on the moon where the sun shines without an atmosphere.”

Scientists have seen traces of water on the moon dating back to 2009 when they found ice on the moon’s south pole, said earthsky.org. Since then, scientists have been wondering where the traces of water came from.

There are many different ideas as to where the water is coming from. 

Two studies were done by Nature Astronomy to further the exploration of water on the moon.

According to Maya Wei-Haas at National Geographic, the first study found “One study reports the first unambiguous evidence for water molecules clinging to or encapsulated within grains in the lunar soil on the sunlit swaths of the surface.”

“The second study modeled small zones on the moon cast in permanent shadow and found…15,400 square miles—an area equivalent to nearly 7,500,000 football fields—are cold enough to harbor ice, about 20 percent more than once thought,” said Wei-Haas.

Scientists are learning increasingly more about water on the moon, and even plan to send astronauts in 2024.  

As for possible future life on the moon, the presence of water may allow this. 

Castelton said, “If there is enough, the water molecules can provide hydrogen for fuel, oxygen for air, and water for a permanent moon base. It is unknown what life may be there for now. It might be possible to use the water to help support future life there.”