The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, for its acronym in English) announced on Monday the discovery of ice water on the Moon, thanks to the research work of the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA, for its acronym in English) .
During a teleconference, NASA confirmed that the Moon contains water, according to new unequivocal detection data, and on its surface there are numerous craters, even very small, to which sunlight never reaches, where it could be stably trapped, which may have implications for future human missions.
Nature Astronomy publishes two studies signed by American scientists, one of which points to the unequivocal detection of molecular water (H20) on the Moon and the other suggests that approximately 40,000 square meters of its surface, of which 40% are in the south , has the ability to retain water in so-called cold traps.
Two years ago, signs of hydration had already been detected on the lunar surface, particularly around the South Pole, which possibly corresponded to the presence of water, but the method used could not differentiate whether it was molecular water (H2O) or hydroxyl ( radicals called OH).
In this new publication, a team led by Casey Honniball of the University of Hawaii used data from NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a Boeing 747SP aircraft modified to carry a reflecting telescope.
The data was taken from the Clavius crater, near the South Pole, which was observed by SOFIA at a wavelength of six microns, at which molecular water produces a unique spectral signature.
The previous observations, at a length of three microns, indicated signs of water, which “still left an alternative explanation open,” but the new data “have no other explanation than the presence of molecular water,” astrophysicist Ignasi Ribas told Efe. of the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) and of the Institute of Space Sciences of the CSIC.