Because the moon has such a thin atmosphere, any unprotected water on the sunlit surface of the moon should be quickly lost to space, and yet, scientists have not found irrefutable evidence that the water molecules are there.
The amount of water detected was very small, said Casey Honniball, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of a new study about the discovery published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy. After launching on SLS, astronauts will travel about 240,000 miles to lunar orbit aboard Orion, at which point they will directly board one of the new commercial human landing systems, or dock to the Gateway to inspect it and gather supplies before boarding the landing system for their expedition to the surface.
Commenting on how the water was stored on the lunar surface, the scientists noted that the water could be trapped into tiny beadlike structures in the soil that form out of the high heat created by micrometeorite impacts.
The possibility of more plentiful and easy-to-access surface water could be a game changer and ease the dependence on polar ice, but Bleacher said many questions need to be answered.
The agreement, signed on Tuesday, marks NASA's first formal commitment to launch global crew members to the lunar vicinity as part of NASA's Artemis missions.
Here are four key things to know about the discovery. It detected water in a small proportion paving way for numerous possibilities.
For a mission created to look at distant, dim objects such as black holes, star clusters, and galaxies, SOFIA's spotlight on Earth's nearest and brightest neighbor was a departure from business as usual. But the Moon is so close and bright that it fills the guide camera's entire field of view.
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Water on the moon may be more abundant and accessible than previously thought, a discovery that could prove important to future lunar missions.
Scientists believe all this water on the moon came from comets, asteroids, interplanetary dust, the solar wind or even lunar volcanic eruptions. The observations that became the basis for the significant discovery were originally just a test, she said, checking out the moon's surface while flying over Nevada en route back to California in 2018.
"These glass beads are about the size of a pencil tip and protect the water from the harsh lunar environment", Honniball said. The results can be found here.
There were many reports earlier, which indicates the presence of water by scanning the surface, but the scientist was unable to distinguish between H2O and hydroxyl that is a molecule made up of hydrogen atom and an oxygen atom.
The Sputnik in its report alleged that "if NASA scientists had read a bit more work from their Soviet colleagues, they might have realized that the Soviet Union's Luna 24 probe made this discovery in 1976". These ESMs will propel and power Orion in space on future Artemis missions and provide air and water for its crew.
To prevent the moon's resources from being exploited the Artemis Accords was created with a set of global agreements meant to govern future exploration of the moon was signed earlier in October by eight countries.