Water in moon? NASA orbiter spots water molecules on lunar surface

The most recent Moon samples collected came from Apollo 17 in 1972

The most recent Moon samples collected came from Apollo 17 in 1972

One of its most remembered creations is a technology that detects heartbeats and was used to save lives during a 7.8 magnitude quake that struck Nepal in 2015.

"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", Kurt Retherford, a co-author on the new research and the principal investigator of the LAMP instrument at Southwest Research Institute in Texas, said in a NASA statement.

The moon, was in the past, considered to be arid with any water that existed on the moon being stuck as pockets of ice in craters that are permanently shaded at the moon's poles.

John Keller, NASA's deputy project scientist at for LRO, said: "This result is an important step in advancing the water story on the Moon and is a result of years of accumulated data from the LRO mission".

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.

These small batches of water vary in amount and location and are dependant on the time of the day.

This massive discovery comes after a lot of assumptions that have surfaced claimed that the Moon is dry and inhospitable to liquid water. Their results showed a tiny amount of water molecules migrating around the Moon based on the temperature, where the rocks release the most water around noon when the temperature is highest and the water moves to areas with less incoming solar radiation. This discovery suggested that water builds up over time rather than "raining" down directly from the solar wind. These could, in theory, result in the formation of water molecules.

These results are now making history in the field of science and aeronautics.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) shuttle has watched water molecules moving around the dayside of the Moon, a finding that may be valuable as the agency intends to return astronauts on the lunar surface. But a recent slew of discoveries, including NASA's latest find, have challenged the way scientists understand lunar hydration.

Still, more information about water moving around the Moon is exciting stuff. With that in mind, when the Moon passes behind the Earth and is shielded from the solar wind, the "water spigot" should essentially turn off. Fuels meant to launch rockets, and other spacecraft are expensive.

Looking forward, NASA and other scientific groups have discussed the potential of using the Moon as a sort of jumping-off point for missions deeper into space.

Scientists have searched for water on the moon for a long time, mainly because of its practical use for future lunar expeditions.

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