What sources of water are available outside of Earth is one of the major concerns with future space exploration missions and the utilization of other planets’ and satellites’ resources. According to a recent study, the existence of water on the Moon is far more widespread than previously believed.
Past research and spacecraft have already confirmed that water does exist on Earth’s natural satellite. However, this study claims that water exists on the actual surface and across the entire moon.
Confirming the Existence of Water Outside of the Poles
Researchers with the Space Science Institute developed a new way to infer that water exists on our neighboring satellite’s surface. This new technique had them using remote-sensing procured from lunar orbiters data.
Using a temperature model, the team of scientists discovered the presence of hydroxyl (OH) and water (H20) in the minerals scattered across the lunar surface. This surface water exists outside the previously identified cold traps at the lunar poles. Initially, scientists believed that water could exist only there. H2O that might have remained trapped for potentially billions of years.
The implications of these findings increase the need for further research. At least for the moment, the source of the water is still unknown. Scientists have also yet to determine how the water molecules were created.
The interpretations of previous studies will likely require additional scrutiny as new science continues developing new observation and measurement methods. This latest research proves that it is possible to learn more about the chemical compositions of the surface of the Moon.
It could completely change the way in which researchers think about the possibilities of water outside of Earth. Or of how this is capable of existing elsewhere as well.
As novel ways are developed to find out more about our solar system, finding other sources of water is a promising outlook in the journey of space exploration. This water could potentially fuel spacecraft or help possible space pioneers settle on the Moon and other planets.
A study paper is available in the journal Nature Geoscience.
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