Stratospheric telescope SOFIA recorded the presence of water in the area of the Clavius crater in the southern hemisphere of the moon, facing the sun.
NASA researchers decided for the first time to direct the gaze of an aerial observatory to an earth satellite to collect data on molecules containing hydrogen. However, the results of surface analysis with an infrared spectrometer exceeded their expectations. The data showed that the concentration of water is about 0.35 liters per 1 m3 of soil (100-400 particles per 1 million). According to astrophysicists, water is not there in the form of puddles, but is distributed in the form of molecules that do not form liquid or ice..
Watch: Water discovered on moon’s sunlit surface using NASA’s SOFIA
Scientists suggest that the moisture came from the fall of micrometeorites or from the solar wind. It did not evaporate due to the presence of tiny glass screens covering it, formed by the impact of meteorites..
This discovery refuted previous assumptions by researchers that all lunar reserves of H2O are located only in shaded craters. Previously, they considered it impossible that water could remain on the surface of a satellite without an atmosphere in direct sunlight..
It is not yet known whether people will be able to use the found resource for their own purposes. NASA will study this issue, as it plans to create a stationary lunar base by 2024 to send astronauts to the surface for scientific research..
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: NASA