Water on the moon is very widespread, it may not be easy to access

    Abdulaziz Sobh


    In contrast to most previous studies on the presence of water on the moon, a new analysis of the data captured by two lunar missions shows that liquid can be present at all times through large parts of the planet's only natural satellite. Earth. However, it may not be water that we are used to, and it may also be difficult to access.
    Some previous studies suggested that water was restricted mainly to the higher latitudes of the moon, near its polar regions, and that the presence varied depending on whether it was day or night (a day and night cycle on the moon lasts about 29.5 Earth days). or that it was inside craters on the lunar surface, where the sunlight did not reach.
    The new finding was based on a detailed model, created using measurements made by the Diviner instrument on the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which was combined with data from Moon Mineralogy Mapper, a visible and infrared spectrometer that was at Chandrayaan-1 India orbiter
    "We found that it does not matter at what time of day or at what latitude we look, the signal that water always seems to be present, the presence of water does not seem to depend on the composition of the surface, and the water sticks", said Joshua Bandfield, principal investigator at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and lead author of the new study. in a statement on Friday.
    However, most of the water in the moon may not be H2O (two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom) found on Earth. Instead, it can exist mainly as a more reactive relative called hydroxyl, or HO. Being more reactive, it creates chemical bonds quickly and adheres to other molecules. Therefore, it would need to be extracted from minerals before it could be used. The study found that the water on the moon does not move between different regions either.
    "The next step is to determine if it is water, hydroxyl or a mixture of both, and where it comes from, is it from external sources, delivered by the comet or asteroid impacts? Is it from internal processes on the Moon itself? , like ancient volcanism? Or could it be a continuous process of the solar wind reacting with lunar materials to create OH or H2O? "Michael Poston of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, co-author of the study, said in another statement.
    Understanding the presence of water/hydroxyl on the moon, as well as its accessibility, is important if humans are going to establish lunar bases in the future. The compounds can be broken down into their components: hydrogen and oxygen. The first can be used as fuel, while the second would be important for breathing.
    The study, titled "Widespread OH / H2O distribution on the lunar surface inferred from spectral data," appeared online Feb. 12 in the journal Nature Geoscience.


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