Nasa's SOFIA finds water on sunlit surface of Moon

28 Octobre, 2020, 11:41 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Image ESA

In comparison, the Sahara desert has 100 times the amount of water than what SOFIA detected in the lunar soil. "But we didn't know how much, if any, was actually water molecules - like we drink every day - or something more like drain cleaner".

Washington, Oct 28 (SocialNews.XYZ) NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have finalised an agreement to collaborate on the Artemis Gateway which will be an outpost orbiting the Moon that provides vital support for long-term human return to the lunar surface, as well as a staging point for deep space exploration.

He said, "We had indications that H2-the familiar water we know- might be present on the sunlit side of the Moon".

On Tuesday, NASA announced that it had officially partnered with the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop the gateway, which the space station plans to launch into orbit around the moon. They'll have a better idea of the sources "if we can get down on the surface and analyze samples of the ice", Hayne said.

"SOFIA has detected water molecules (H2O) is Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon's southern hemisphere". The observations that became the basis for the significant discovery were originally just a test, she said, checking out the moon's surface while flying over Nevada en route back to California in 2018.

So how does water survive on the hot, sunlit surface without a thick lunar atmosphere?

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The scientists believe several forces could be at play in the delivery or creation of this water. The water is trapped among the shadowed patches of lunar soil or in glassy materials left behind by micrometeorite impacts, reports Sid Perkins for Science.

NASA is now pushing to send a crewed mission to the surface of the moon by 2024 as part of the Artemis program, which is largely focused on "sustainable" exploration of the lunar surface.

"To be clear, it's not puddles of water, but instead water molecules that are so spread apart that they do not form ice or liquid water", Honniball tells Kenneth Chang for the New York Times.

"Water is a valuable resource, for both scientific purposes and for use by our explorers", said Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist for Nasa's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

Using data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the researchers identified cold traps as small as a few meters across and as wide as 30 kilometers and more, and used computer models to get all the way down to micrometers in size.

This discovery also challenges the theories about how water is formed, while also raising questions about its sustenance in an airless area. If water is locked into glass beads, it could require more energy to extract than if it were simply mixed in with the soil.

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