NASA has finally managed to confirm the existence of water on the moon.
It has done so by means of the Boeing 747 aircraft which it has called SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy), and the result has represented an encouraging picture for scientists.
This discovery could indicate that the distribution of the water occurs beyond the lunar surface in which it was found for the first time; In other words, the water would be distributed over the entire lunar surface and would not be limited to the coldest and darkest areas.
NASA discovers the existence of water on the lunar surface: What does this finding mean for science?
- NASA confirms the existence of water on the moon thanks to the Boeing 747 plane called SOFIA
- The discovery could indicate that the water may be distributed throughout the lunar surface and not just in the crater in which it was found.
- NASA is confident that, thanks to this finding, more suitable maps can be created for future lunar explorations
The SOFIA plane detected water molecules in the Clavius crater, recognized as one of the largest and most visible from the ground.
In past explorations, a form of hydrogen had been detected on the lunar surface; however, at that time it could not be determined whether it was water or hydroxyl.
According to the data obtained, the water would be in concentrations equivalent to a 12-ounce bottle of water, or approximately 354 milliliters.
Paul Hertz, director of NASA’s astrophysics division, stated that “We had had indications that water as we know it could be present on the side of the moon illuminated by sunlight. We now know that this is true. This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface, and raises further questions about the relevant resources for deep space exploration. “
One of the main questions corresponds to the origin of the appearance of water on the moon and the mechanisms that allow it to survive in the conditions of the lunar surface.
Discover the existence of water on the moon thanks to the SOFIA plane
SOFIA’s finding, while valuable to NASA, still has many unanswered questions.
For example, if the water located on the lunar surface can be used as a natural resource.
However, NASA is in a race to analyze the samples and generate as much knowledge as possible ahead of the impending dispatch of a lunar exploration in 2024.
Casey Honnibal, a researcher at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, said that “From before the observations made by SOFIA, we knew that there was a type of hydration on the moon.”
NASA’s boeing 747 has offered an innovative way to ‘explore’ the moon. It is capable of flying at altitudes of up to 45,000 feet and retrieving information through a powerful 106-inch-diameter telescope, with which it has been able to discover a concentration of water in the Clavius crater.
Honiball also added that “Without a dense atmosphere, the water on the illuminated part of the lunar surface should be lost into space. However, for some reason, we can see it. There is something that is generating water. “
What is the water concentration due to? A mystery that NASA will try to solve in future explorations
There are several factors that could come into play when trying to explain the generation of water on the moon.
For example, it is believed that micrometeorites falling on the lunar surface could be laden with small amounts of water that would be harbored on the lunar surface upon impact.
Another possibility that is contemplated is a two-stage process, in which the solar wind sends hydrogen to the lunar surface and causes a chemical reaction with oxygen-laden minerals that, finally, create hydroxyl. Furthermore, it is believed that radiation from micrometeorites could be transforming hydroxyl into water.
According to Naseem Rangwala, SOFIA project scientist at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, “This is, in fact, the first time SOFIA has taken a look at the moon, and we weren’t entirely sure we could retrieve information. trustworthy; however, questions about the existence of water on the moon led us to try ”; He concluded by saying that “It is incredible that this discovery was the result of what was, in theory, a test, and now that we know we can do this, we are planning more flights to make more observations.”
SOFIA: the NASA plane that discovered the existence of water on the lunar surface
The following SOFIA flights, according to NASA, will aim to locate water in the illuminated parts of the moon in the different lunar phases.
This, they say, is to learn more about the way in which water is produced, stored and distributed on the moon.
NASA experts they also believe that the water could be trapped in small shadows where the temperatures are freezing.
Jacob Bleacher, NASA’s chief of exploration, stated in a statement that “The Water It is a valuable resource, both for scientific purposes and for use by explorers. If we can use these resources on the moon, then we can carry less water and use more equipment that will allow us to make new scientific discoveries. “
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