WASHIGNTON: As NASA said on Monday (October 26) that it first discovered traces of water on the moon’s sunlit surface, the lunar water is more easily accessible than previously thought.
The discovery was made using the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a joint project between NASA and the German Aerospace Center.
NASA manager Jim Bridenstine tweeted, “I used @SOFIAtelescope to identify water on the lunar surface under the sun for the first time.”
Results published in the journal Nature Astronomy suggest that water can be transmitted by small meteorite impacts or formed by the interaction of energy particles emitted from the sun.
These findings further substantiate the fact that water can be distributed over the lunar surface, not confined to the lunar cold shadow regions.
“We don’t know if we can use it as a resource yet, but learning about lunar water is at the heart of our #Artemis exploration plan,” Bridenstine said.
SOFIA has detected a water molecule (H2O) in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible on Earth, located in the southern hemisphere of the Moon.
Previous observations of the Moon’s surface have found some form of hydrogen, but it has been unable to distinguish between water and its close chemical counterpart, hydroxyl (OH).
At this location, a concentration of 100 to 412 ppm of water (equivalent to a bottle of about 12 ounces) is trapped in 1 m3 of soil spread over the lunar surface.
There have been signs that H2O, the familiar water we know, may be present on the sunlit side of the moon. “Astrophysics Division Director for the Scientific Missions Department at NASA headquarters in Washington,” said Paul Hertz.
“Now we know it exists. This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface and raises interesting questions about the resources involved in deep space exploration.”
This new discovery comes as NASA prepares to send the first women and the next men to the lunar surface in 2024.
NASA aims to return humans to the moon.
SOFIA’s follow-up observations will help scientists explore how lunar water is created and stored.
SOFIA, the world’s largest aerial astronomical observatory, is a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that provides a clear view of the universe and objects in our solar system with a telescope close to nearly 9 feet.
SOFIA, flying over 99% of the air’s obscured water vapor, can observe in infrared wavelengths and detect phenomena that cannot be seen with visible light.
SOFIA’s results are based on years of previous research examining the presence of water on the moon. When Apollo astronauts first returned from the moon in 1969, the moon was thought to be completely dry.
Over the past two decades, orbital and paddle missions, such as NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, have identified ice in craters with permanent shadows around the lunar pole.
Meanwhile, several spacecrafts, including the Cassini Mission and Deep Impact Comet Mission, and the Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandra Yan-1 mission, as well as NASA’s ground-based infrared telescope facility, have extensively investigated the lunar surface to uncover evidence of sign language. In a brighter area.
However, the task was unable to clearly distinguish the form in which it was present, namely H2O or OH.