World News – US – Moon has more water than previously thought, scientists say


NASA has discovered water on the moon’s sunny surface, scientists said Monday, a discovery that could aid in efforts to establish a human presence on the lunar surface

NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, an airborne observatory housed in a modified Boeing 747 airliner, has detected water molecules in the Clavius ​​crater in the southern hemisphere of the moon, one of the largest visible craters on Earth

Water ice has already been found on the moon, in the colder and darker regions of the north and south poles, but the new finding suggests that water may be present over more of the lunar surface, beyond freezing areas and permanently in shadow

« This is exciting because it is expected that any water present on a sunny surface of the moon will not survive lunar day, » Paul Hertz, director of the division of astrophysics at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC, said in a press briefing Monday

The discovery has important implications for human exploration, especially as NASA aims to bring astronauts back to the moon in 2024 Hertz said water on the moon could be used as a resource for crews astronauts or as fuel for expeditions moving deeper into space, such as future missions to Mars

NEWS: We confirmed the water on the moon’s sunny surface for the 1st time using @SOFIAtelescope We don’t know yet if we can use it as a resource, but learning about water on Moon is essential for our exploration plans #Artemis Join the media teleconference at https: // tco / vOGoSHt74c picTwittercom / 7p2QopMhod

Previous observations of the moon’s surface revealed the presence of hydrogen, but scientists were unable to say whether the hydrogen atoms indicated the presence of water or hydroxyl, a close chemical relative found in drain cleaner

Using infrared instruments from the SOFIA Observatory to study the moon at an altitude of 45,000 feet, the researchers were able to detect the distinct chemical fingerprints of the water in the Clavius ​​crater

The amount of water detected was very low, said Casey Honniball, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of a new study on the discovery published Monday in the journal Nature. Astronomy Scientists have discovered roughly the equivalent of a 12-ounce bottle of water trapped in a cubic meter of soil spread across Clavius ​​Crater

« To be clear, these are not puddles, » Honniball said, adding that the molecules are so dispersed that they do not form ice or liquid water

Jacob Bleacher, NASA’s chief exploration scientist for the Directorate of Human Exploration and Operations Missions, said understanding the origin and condition of water on the moon would help the agency plan missions to the lunar surface If water can be extracted on the Moon, for example, NASA might be able to free up valuable cargo space

“The water is heavy Therefore it is expensive to launch from the surface of the Earth,” said Bleacher “It is much easier to travel when you don’t have to pack everything you might have needed during the whole trip « 

Still, it is not yet clear how accessible water is on the moon, even in sunny areas. More research is needed, but Honniball said it is possible that the water came from micrometeorites that crashed into the moon The violent impacts may have locked the water molecules in tiny glass beads, which could explain how they manage to survive in the moon’s harsh environment

« Without a thick atmosphere, water on the sunlit lunar surface would simply have to be wasted in space, » Honniball said in a statement. « Yet somehow we see it Something generates water, and something must be trapping it there »

Observations of the Clavius ​​crater were made in 2018 Researchers plan to collect more data on future SOFIA observatory flights

NASA also plans to send a golf cart-sized rover to the lunar surface at the end of 2023 to study the origin and distribution of water The rover, known as the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, expected to assemble the first maps of water resources on the moon, according to NASA

Water on the moon

World news – US – The moon has more water than previously thought, scientists say


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