The years-old assumptions now get confirmed that water exists on the surface of the moon! A group of scientists proved the presence of this substance in the darkest and coldest parts of the polar regions of the Moon, the ice deposits are irregularly distributed and could even be very old.
It took some studies to confirm the theories and now, thanks to NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), a group of experts identified three brands that prove that there is water on the moon surface in the form of ice.
M3 is aboard the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, which was launched in 2008 by the Space Research Organization of India, with the mission to confirm the presence of ice on the Moon. The instrument has the ability to measure the way in which molecules absorb infrared light, this makes it possible to differentiate between liquid water, steam and ice.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Hawaii and Brown University, led by Shuai Li, and which includes Richard Elphic of the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California.
Most of the ice was found in the shadows of the craters near the poles with maximum temperatures of -165 degrees Celsius. Due to the inclination of the axis of rotation of the Moon, sunlight never reaches these areas. In the south pole, most of it is concentrated in lunar craters, while in the north pole it is more dispersed.
Earlier studies had shown the existence of magmatic water locked under the surface of the moon, in lunar samples returned during the Apollo programme.
There is a possibility that these ice deposits may serve in the future for human missions. The next safe satellite trips will focus on the existence of water on the moon and how it got there, as well as how to interact with the lunar soil. If it will be the basis for colonization we do not know yet, but it is clear that it changes the dry and lifeless image of the Moon.