"I'm talking human-rated landers, compatible with Gateway, that can go back and forth to the surface of the moon".
Previously, scientists believed that there was too little water on the Moon and that it could only be found as ice pockets. That's the message from researchers using data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to detect water molecules and the behavior of the moisture over the course of a lunar day.
NASA recently found more evidence supporting the existence of "hopping liquid" on the surface of the Moon.
The water molecules remain attached to the regolith when the temperature on the surface increases. Scientists saw more water at higher altitude places.
'This is an important new result about lunar water, a hot topic as our nation's space program returns to a focus on lunar exploration, ' said Dr. Kurt Retherford, the principal investigator of the LAMP instrument from Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.
Six of the nine teams will study samples collected during the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions that have never been exposed to our atmosphere. Now, the LRO has revealed that the water present on the moon's surface actually moves around during lunar daytime.
"By studying these precious lunar samples for the first time, a new generation of scientists will help advance our understanding of our lunar neighbor and prepare for the next era of exploration of the Moon and beyond", Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator for its Science Mission Directorate, said in a news release.
A study on the moisture of the moon to be published in Geophysical Research Letters paints a vivid picture of the life water molecules on the surface. Lunar water would also be useful for humans especially in thermal management or radiation shielding. However, the water observed by LAMP does not decrease when the Moon is shielded by the Earth and the region influenced by its magnetic field, suggesting water builds up over time, rather than "raining" down directly from the solar wind.
After almost 50 years of careful storage and being left untouched, NASA says it will finally study lunar samples that were collected during the legendary Apollo missions.