Published: Fri, August 24, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Chandrayaan-1 Helps Scientists Confirm Water Ice on Moon

Chandrayaan-1 Helps Scientists Confirm Water Ice on Moon

"We know that there's hundreds of billions of tons of water ice on the surface of the moon", Bridenstine said in a Reuters TV interview in Washington on Tuesday, a day after NASA unveiled its analysis of data collected from lunar orbit by a spacecraft from India. This meant that it could differentiate between liquid water and vapour and solid ice. And it's possible that meteorite impacts have disrupted the moon's supplies of surface and near-surface ice more dramatically.

A team of scientists led by researchers from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) found the first direct evidence for the surface exposed water ice in permanently shaded regions (PSRs) of the Moon.

The discovery marks another success for the M3 instrument, says CNet. Without an atmosphere, light bouncing around the surface of the Moon is scattered very weakly, producing a weak signal for the research team to work with.

Once considered a dry, hostile place, confirmation that there is water ice on the moon's surface makes it a favourable place for space exploration, Dr O'Neill said.

Astronomers have discovered that small areas of ice on the moon, which could then become a source of water for people. Unfortunately, NASA already cancelled the Resource Prospector, a rover that was supposed to look and dig for ice and other resources on the moon future manned bases could use.

The observations were made using data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument, launched in 2008 by the Indian Space Research Organization aboard the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.

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When they combined these two factors, they found reflective properties, as well as definitive interactions between molecules and infrared light, that indicate the presence of water ice on the lunar surface.

Importantly, the moon's newly confirmed ice deposits could be used as an "in situ resource", the paper also suggests.

There are larger amounts of water ice that is distributed in the craters located at the southern pole of the satellite.

The JPL article explains that the ice forms at the craters close to the poles, in their shadows - because sunlight never reaches that area, and the temperature is under 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

If there is enough ice located on the moon's surface, particularly within a few millimeters of the surface, astronauts would likely be able to access that ice if it came down to new lunar expeditions.

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