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Aadil Naik
Aadil Naik • Feb 25, 2018

New studies show water is everywhere on the moon

Contradicting earlier studies, NASA’s latest report suggests that water is present everywhere on the moon. Its presence does not seem to depend upon the type of terrain, the region on the surface or the time of the day. Earlier studies had suggested that water is available only in the polar regions of the moon which happen to be the coldest regions on the lunar surface.

The earlier model of the lunar water came from the belief that any water molecules on the moon hopped around the surface until they got caught into the “cold traps” located in the depths of polar craters. As such, water could have accumulated in those regions for billions of years to account for the present concentrations. However, the latest studies show a compelling evidence of the water being present all over the surface and not only the polar cold traps.

This accomplishment was achieved thanks to the improved sensitivity of the remote sensing instruments orbiting the moon, including the Moon Mineralogy Mapper onboard the Chandrayaan-1 orbiter.

It is believed though that the water on the moon may be present as OH (hydroxyl group) instead of H2O as on Earth. It is also suggested that the water may not be loose but embedded in the minerals. The source of the lunar water is still a topic of debate. Some believe it is regularly formed by the solar wind interacting with the lunar minerals. Others suggest it was already present on the moon when it got separated from the Earth some billions of years ago.

Whatever be the source, good news, water is present. Humans have landed on the moon only once in 1969. Now when we go there next time, we are not planning to return without making a base on the moon. However, it is not easy and economical to send supplies to the moon like we do send to the ISS. At least, we do not want to send air, water, and fuel to our lunar base. If water is present on the lunar surface, obviously, we’ll have access to drinking water. We can also break it up into hydrogen and oxygen to be used as the air to breathe and our rocket fuel. So if water is indeed distributed everywhere on the lunar surface, it is great for our future lunar colony.

Source: NASA

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