NASA announced it has discovered water on the sunlit surface of the moon.
The water was spotted near the Clavius crater, one of the largest crater formations on the celestial satellite and one that can be seen with the naked eye, Paul Hayne, a planetary scientist at the University of Colorado, said on a conference call with the press.
Hayne is the lead author of one of the studies published on the topic. A team led by Casey Honniball of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland detected molecular water on the lunar surface, trapped within natural glasses or between debris grains.
Previous observations have suffered from ambiguity between water and its molecular cousin hydroxyl, but the new detection used a method that yielded unambiguous findings.
The only way for this water to survive on the sunlit lunar surfaces where it was observed was to be embedded within mineral grains, protecting it from the frigid and foreboding environment.
The pair of studies demonstrate the moon is more damp than we once believed and highlight the potential to utilize lunar resources in human and robotic exploration.