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H2O is out of this world: scientists discover water on moon

August 29, 2018

Scientists have recently discovered evidence of water ice on the surface of the moon’s polar regions in a study that was published on August 20. Two scientists and a NASA researcher have used India’s first lunar probe, the Moon Mineralogy Mapper Instrument, to find the location of the water ice on the Moon. This instrument was designed to search for distinguishable movements that would demonstrate the existence of water ice on the surface of the moon.

The device used would also detect the way the molecules would absorb light.  The instrument was launched in 2008, and it has remained there collecting data since. Not only would it be able to pick up the studies of the lunar poles, but it would also be able to conclude whether another phenomenon would affect the presence of the ice as well. Since the moon’s warmest temperatures do not go above -250 degrees Fahrenheit, water ice could be found in the darkest and coldest areas of the moon. Researchers believe that the ice was formed by a slow condensation from a vapor phase either due to impact or water migration from space. There is more ice being widely spread in the northern pole than the southern mostly because of the moon’s axis.

“The spectral features of our detected ice suggest that they were formed by slow condensation from a vapor phase either due to impact or water migration from space.” Shuai Li, the lead study author at Hawaii Institute said.  Li believes that due to the proximity of the moon to Earth, understanding the creation of the water ice on the moon will give us insight into the origin of water on our own planet and on others in this solar system.

It is possible that the water source could lead to a moon mission in the future. Scientists and NASA are observing and gathering data to see if it could be a possibility in the future.

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