Until the last decade, space scientists considered the moon as a dry space body with no traces of water. Later, a series of findings suggested that Earth's cosmic neighbor has traces of water trapped on the lunar surface. And now, NASA, using the SOFIA telescope, has found that water on the moon could be much higher than previously thought.
Shadowed Cold Traps in Lunar Poles
The new study report, which is now published in the journal Nature Astronomy, suggested that water in the moon includes the ice stored permanently in the shadowed cold traps in the lunar poles.
Several previous studies had found indications of water presence on the lunar surface, but until now, scientists had not figured out whether the substance on the moon is H2O or hydroxyl. However, the new study report strongly suggests that there is molecular water on the moon, even in sunlit areas.
"If we find the water is abundant enough in certain locations we may be able to use it as a resource for human exploration. It could be used as drinking water, breathable oxygen, and rocket fuel," Casey Honniball, of the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology and the co-author of the study told AFP.
Future Missions and Alien Presence
According to researchers, this new finding has a direct significance in shaping future space probes, especially at a time when NASA is planning to land the next human on the moon by 2024. Building a permanent lunar base ahead of the Mars colonization mission is the ultimate aim of the Artemis mission, and the discovery of water could surely elevate the success of these upcoming missions.
The presence of water also broadens the possibility of alien existence on the moon. Even though these aliens could not be those 'little green men' often depicted in Hollywood movies, extraterrestrial microbes might be thriving somewhere in the waters of the lunar surface.