Science

There May Be More Water in the Moon Than We Thought

There May Be More Water in the Moon Than We Thought

In 2008, scientists detected trace amounts of water in glass beads brought back from these two Apollo sites - but this new research suggests water could be more abundant than previously imagined, and not just a thing of the past.

In the 1970s, naturally occurring beads were collected as part of the Apollo 15 and 17 missions, which landed near zones of volcanic activity.

However, scientists couldn't be sure if the Apollo samples are unique or if other volcanic flows on the moon are filled with water-bearing glass. They then concluded that the volcanic deposits are indeed widespread, suggesting that the material deep inside the moon is wetter than previously thought.

The finding also sheds light on future lunar exploration as water could potentially be extracted from the volcanic deposits.

There might be a lot of water inside the moon and it could be a valuable resource.

If water exists on the moon, scientists will likely have to rethink theories regarding the moon's formation. However, researchers in 2008 examined the glass beads from the Apollo samples and they found first sign of water on moon.

Has water been found on moon before? In 2009, NASA crashed a rocket and a satellite into a crater on the moon's south pole, in the hopes of picking up additional watery evidence. NASA found signs associated with water ice and hydroxyl - a highly reactive molecule associated with water.

Ravens Center John Urschel To Retire From NFL
A year later, he earned his master's, again with a 4.0 GPA, while also teaching trigonometry and geometry. Previously, he played in all 16 games in 2015, making seven starts at center.

Until a decade ago, scientists believed that the Moon's interior had been largely depleted of water. That's when geologists began suspecting that the moon holds hidden reservoirs locked in its rocks.

By looking at orbital data and precisely measuring how light reflected off the moon's varying surfaces, the researchers found many volcanic deposits that included evidence of water below.

Ralph Milliken, lead author of the study, said the distribution of the Moon's water-rich deposits "tells us that the water found in the Apollo samples isn't a one-off". The study is one of the first to try and answer this question using satellite mapping of volcanic debris called pyroclastic flows.

"Water is heavy and expensive to take from Earth to space", he said, "so any bit of water that you can get on the moon instead of bringing with you from Earth is a big deal and opens up possibilities for sustained human presence on the moon".

However, the Moon's surface proposed a challenge for the team - the lunar surface heats up throughout the course of the day, especially at latitudes where the volcanic deposits are located. As a result, researchers assumed the moon's mantle was dry. The volcanic deposits are believed to consist of glass "beads" formed by explosive eruption of magma that came from the deep lunar interior.

"This is actually very useful", says Colaprete.


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