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29 августа 2018, 11:56

Forget Aliens: Scientists Confirm Water Ice on the Moon

Stay on target

Scientists have observed evidence of water ice on the Moon’s surface.

Located in the darkest and coldest parts of its polar regions, these patchy deposits could be ancient, according to NASA.

Using data from the space agency’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), researchers identified three specific signatures that “definitively prove” there is water ice on Earth’s satellite.

M3 is one of two instruments NASA contributed to Chandrayaan-1, India’s first mission to the Moon, launched in the fall of 2008. The spacecraft operated for only 312 days (as opposed to the intended two years), but managed to achieve many of its objectives.

The M3 imaging spectrometer provided a low-resolution spatial and spectral map of more than 95 percent of the lunar surface; it only captured a small fraction in high-res mode.

Still, analysts managed to make a major discovery.

The team—led by Shuai Li of the University of Hawaii and Brown University, and Richard Elphic from NASA’s Ames Research Center—evaluated M3’s 10-year-old findings.

The machine not only picked up reflective properties expected of ice, but also measured the distinctive way its molecules absorb infrared light, allowing researchers to differentiate between liquid water or vapor and solid ice.

Most of the newfound water ice is situated in the shadows of craters near the orb’s poles, where the temperature never reaches above a balmy -250 ℉. The tiny tilt of the Moon’s rotation axis, NASA explained, restricts sunlight from reaching these regions.

The findings were published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .

This revelation—published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences —could open the door to future lunar exploration.

“With enough ice sitting at the surface—within the top few millimeters—water would possibly be accessible as a resource for future expeditions to explore and even stay on the Moon,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in an announcement. “And potentially easier to access than the water detected beneath the Moon’s surface.”

There is, of course, still more to learn about the ice: How did it get there? How does it interact with the larger environment? Is it infected by a millennia-old sentient virus?

This isn’t the first encounter with celestial H2O: Japanese scientists recently ID’d a mineral that points to the existence of water on the Moon. Learn F out who even owns the moon or how NASA celebrated a 60-year milestone. Check out what else is happening on Earth’s satellite here.

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Source: https://www.geek.com/news/forget-aliens-scientists-confirm-water-ice-on-the-moon-1749895/?source=science