Water on the Moon.

  • #1
Monocerotis
Gold Member
53
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Forget that tired old image of the moon as a entirely dry locale, devoid of any moisture. A recent set of discoveries have found that not only is there water on Earth's sole satellite — but the water is everywhere.

Three papers appearing in the upcoming issue of Science Express outline the discovery of pervasive water found clinging to the surface of the moon. Infrared spectroscope measurements from three different space probes have detected absorptions that indicate the presence of water or hydroxyl (which is, itself, a strong indicator for the presence of water) on the the lunar surface, with one model suggesting water makes up a few tenths of a percent by weight in the optical surface. This water is apparently clinging to the moon's surface, rather than being absorbed by dust.

It's hardly a vast lake, and it won't yet support that lunar agricultural colony you've been dreaming of, but it's far more water than scientists ever expected to find on the moon, and it could prove a valuable resource to future lunar visitors. The researchers have also found that the concentration of water is higher toward the poles, lending credence to the theory that larger deposits of water near the poles, and researchers note that it's possible we'll continue to find wetter lunar regions in the future.

So where did all this water come from? Although meteors or comets may have periodically brought water to the moon, the prevailing theory among the three papers is that solar winds have carried hydrogen to the moon's surface, where it has bonded with the oxygen in the moon's own dust and produced water.

http://io9.com/5366261/confirmed-there-is-water-on-the-moon-and-lots-of-it
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Integral
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
7,198
55
Water appears to be quite common in the universe, and why not Oxygen is the result of processes in 1st generation stars and the universe is full of Hydrogen, water is the obvious final state of these elements. I would bet (this is specultation) that below the lunar surface there are large deposits of ice.
 
  • #3
65
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This is fantastic news! But I must wonder why NASA never managed to confirm this prior to India's Chandrayan probe?
 
  • #4
Fuz
71
0
I heard this on the news a while ago :D
 
  • #5
778
2
This is fantastic news! But I must wonder why NASA never managed to confirm this prior to India's Chandrayan probe?
Several probes observed it, but Chandrayaan was the push that convinced the sceptics.
 
  • #6
181
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The NASA Moon Mineralogy Mapper Module that was on the ISRO Chandrayaan-1 Probe found evidence of water and hydroxyl in the minerals of lunar soil, something like the equivalent of a few liters of water per ton of lunar soil.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandrayaan
 
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  • #7
65
0
Yep I have since learnt that there was a specific NASA "water-searching" detecting package onboard the Chandrayan vehicle. So, yes, it seems to have been a joint NASA/ISRO discovery. No conspiracy here, keep walking.

It seems like it was suspected for a while, but now it is confirmed.

Which is absolutely WONDERFUL.

I will look at our Moon as "Earth 2" from here on (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067039/ = bzzz Gary Lockwood bzzz 2001). Or maybe "Moon Zero Two" (bzzz http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hM1lsDhSjD8&fmt= ).

This is fantastic news, especially at this point in "history". I imagine if it was back in "Bush/Howard/Blair" era, we wouldn't have even been told about it. I am "hoping" that this discovery triggers a massive space race and that space tourism becomes an imminent reality.

Water on the Moon means DRINKING WATER and OXYGEN. It also means HYDROGEN for propulsion engines.

The FUTURE has suddenly blossomed open.

WATER also means LIFE... hmmm... ? I wonder... ?
 
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