NASA’s SOFIA Confirms Presence of Water on Moon’s Sunlit Surface
The news finding by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) suggests that there might be more water on our nearest neighbour, Moon than previously thought. Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Airborne Telescope confirmed the presence of water molecules in Clavius Crater. This particular crater is located in the southern hemisphere of Moon. The latest discovery has indicated that water on Moon may not be limited to just cold and shadowed places. SOFIA provided proof that Moon has molecular water even in its sunlit surface.
NASA on its Twitter account wrote, “Water molecules were found in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth on the Moon! This discovery from our @SOFIAtelescope indicates that water may be distributed across the surface, & not limited to cold, shadowed places.” “Scientists think the water could be stored inside glass beadlike structures within the soil that can be smaller than the tip of a pencil,” NASA wrote in another tweet. The celestial body was believed to be arid until a decade ago.
Though earlier research found traces of water, those couldn’t differentiate between water (H2O) and hydroxyl, which is a molecule made up of one hydrogen atom and one oxygen atom. With the help of SOFIA, researchers were able to clearly scan the lunar surface, actually at a more precise wavelength than before- six microns instead of three.
NASA plans to set up a space station in the lunar orbit. It contemplates that ice excavated from the south pole of Moon can supply drinking water one day. Molecules can also be split apart to make fuel for rocket’s onward journey.
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