Water could be stored in moon that may help manned lunar missions in future

A full moon rises behind blocks of flats in north London, Britain, January 31, 2018. Reuters

A new study conducted by a team of researchers at Brown University has suggested that there could be plenty of water stored in the interiors of the moon.

As per a NASA study, the scientists said, "We find that it doesn't matter what time of day or which latitude we look at, the signal indicating water always seems to be present." Now, another research led by Brown University scientists Ralph E. Milliken and Shuai Li speculated that water may be trapped in plenty inside the glass beads encased in moon's ancient volcanic deposits.

The study report which is now available in the journal Nature Geoscience reveals that the moon was the hotbed of volcanic activities as recently as 100-million-years ago. The evidence of volcanic incidents can be seen in the volcanic rocks that are scattered across the surface of the moon.

During the research, scientists made use of satellite imagery and discovered water droplets preserved inside the glass beads of volcanic rocks. Even though there are only tiny droplets of water in each bead of these rocks, experts believe that there will be significantly more water stored inside the moon's mantle.

"The fact that nearly all of them (the volcanic deposits) exhibit signatures of water suggest... that the bulk interior of the moon is wet. It's more water than previously recognized," said Ralph Milliken, the lead author of the study, CNN reports.

The new discovery is also expected to revolutionize future lunar missions. Milliken believes that water deposit on the moon could help humans in one way or the other, especially during manned lunar missions in which lifting off water from the earth to moon will be an expensive task.

"If we want to send people to Mars, you might consider using the moon as a stepping stone for training or testing equipment. If you do that you'll need water. It's heavy and expensive to lift off Earth," added Milliken.

Shuai Li, a co-author of the research and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii said that the real question is regarding the exact origin of water in the moon. Experts believe that the moon might have formed from the debris left behind when a gigantic space body slammed into the earth in its full fury. As moon may be actually earth's debris, these people speculate that it is from the blue planet that the natural satellite got some amount of water in it.

This article was first published on December 27, 2018