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Lunar Missions Reveal Moon May Have Widespread Water

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NASA found proof that water present on the moon is distributed widely across the lunar surface, not just in a particular terrain or region.

NASA gathered new evidence from two lunar missions. The water, however, is not always easily accessible though it appears to be present day and night.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, could help scientists gain more insight into the origin of water on the moon and if it could be used easily as a resource. Subsequently, future explorers on the moon might be able to convert water into oxygen and hydrogen to fuel a rocket, or breathing oxygen, or even as drinking water.

“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,” said senior research scientist Joshua Bandfield, who is the lead study author.

Bandfield also added that the water present does not seem to be dependent on the surface composition and the water sticks around.

Widespread And Immobile Water On The Lunar Surface

The discovery of water, which is relatively immobile and widespread, indicates that it could be primarily present as OH or hydroxide. OH is water's more reactive relative, which is made up of one atom of oxygen and one atom of hydrogen. Also referred to as hydroxyl, it does not stay on its own for a long duration, choosing to chemically attach itself to molecules or attacking them. Therefore, OH has to be taken out from minerals to be useful.

The research team associated with the study also found that water present on the moon is not attached loosely to the lunar surface.

Lunar Water

The researchers could gain more insight into the water sources and how it was stored for a long time on other rocky forms present in the solar system, once they sort out what happens on the moon.

At present, the scientists are still trying to figure out what the discovery tells about the moon water's source. The results indicate that H2O or OH is being generated by the solar wind slamming the surface of the moon. The team, however, did not ignore the fact that H2O or OH could originate from the moon itself, which is released from the deep interiors of minerals. The water has been trapped here since the formation of the satellite.

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