Once believed to be a dehydrated and uncongenial orb, the only natural satellite of Earth – the Moon might have hosted much more water than it previously estimated to be, claimed an international study. The re-examination of volcanic glass beads, which was brought back by the crews of Apollo 15 and 17 missions in the 1970s, has raised the possibility of Moon to be wetter than previous thought, a discovery which may pave paths for turning the age-old dream of colonizing the Moon into an authentic opportunity.
Does or did moon host water? Well, this is the most long-standing and enigmatic question for the modern astronomy. Until 2008, Moon was believed to be a dry and inhospitable orb. But it was the Indian satellite Chandrayaan-1 which orbited around the Moon in 2008, and 100% confirmed the presence of water in the deep craters of Moon. However, questions like how much water moon contained what made the water to vapor into the atmosphere are still unknowable to scientists.
But the latest study, based on the re-examination of ‘Volcanic Glass Beads, collected by the mission crews of Apollo 15 and 17 in the 1970s has suggested that moon used to be soggier than scientists previously estimated it to be. As the latest findings have claimed, water could be pervasive ahead of the region poles of Moon, where water is already confirmed to exist. According to the research, conducted by the scientists from the Brown University in the United States, Moon surprisingly is home to outsized sub-surface water pools, which is likely to satisfy the thirst of lunar explorers one day.
While publishing the report on Monday, researchers, led by Astronomer Bradley Tucker and Shuai Li, the co-author of a study from the Brown University, have claimed that they have successfully tracked down the signature of water in the lunar interior parts, by using satellite data. As said by the co-author of the study, Moon’s interior region hosts such a large amount of water which can be employed as in situ resources for future lunar exploration missions.
When asked “Where has this water sourced from,” Dr. Tucker, the lead author of the study said that water is likely to be staunched from a self-nourishing source, located in the interior of the lunar surface. According to researchers, an abundant amount of water is ensnared in lunar volcanic glasses – a substance created from molten rock, emitted from the interior of the moon. For the study, researchers used data, collected through Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument onboard the Indian Lunar probe – the Chandrayaan-1 orbiter and by combining it with the lunar samples, brought back by Apollo 15 and 17 missions; they tracked down the potential presence of a large amount of water within the moon.
The complete details of the study are published in Nature Geoscience on Monday.