FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — It’s official!
NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has confirmed, for the first time, water on the sunlit surface of the Moon.
This discovery indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places.
The water molecules were detected in the Clavius Crater, which is one of the largest craters visible from Earth.
NEWS: We confirmed water on the sunlit surface of the Moon for the 1st time using @SOFIAtelescope. We don’t know yet if we can use it as a resource, but learning about water on the Moon is key for our #Artemis exploration plans. Join the media telecon at https://t.co/vOGoSHt74c pic.twitter.com/7p2QopMhod
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) October 26, 2020
Data indicates water trapped in a cubic meter of soil spread across the lunar surface.
The water is located inside or in between grains on the surface of the moon which protects it from the harsh and irradiated environment on the moon.
Scientists believe there is more than 15,400 square miles or nearly 1 million acres of terrain that can trap water.
Water is a vital resource and it is a key ingredient of life.
According to scientists, it is unknown if the water that SOFIA found is easily accessible for use.
It is believed that the water came from comets, asteroids, lunar volcanic eruptions and solar wind.
— NASA Ames (@NASAAmes) October 26, 2020
Under NASA’s Artemis program, the agency is eager to learn all it can about the presence of water on the Moon.
NASA is planning to send the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024.
They also hope to establish a sustainable human presence on the moon by 2030.