Traces of elixir of life found on moon

NASA instruments reveal water molecules on lunar surface

Scientists at the US space agency NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) have discovered water molecules in the polar regions of the moon.

According to a NASA report, instruments aboard three separate spacecraft revealed water molecules in amounts that are greater than predicted, but still relatively small. "Hydroxyl, a molecule consisting of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom, was also found in the lunar soil," said the report.

The observations were made by NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper, or M3, which was carried into space on 22 October 2008, aboard the Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.

Data from the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer, or VIMS, on NASA's Cassini spacecraft and the High-Resolution Infrared Imaging Spectrometer on NASA's EPOXI spacecraft contributed to confirmation of the finding, NASA reported.

According to the report, M3's state-of-the-art spectrometer measured light reflecting off the moon's surface at infrared wavelengths, splitting the spectral colors of the lunar surface into small enough bits to reveal a new level of detail in surface composition. When the M3 science team analysed data from the instrument, they found the wavelengths of light being absorbed were consistent with the absorption patterns for water molecules and hydroxyl.

A holy grail for lunar scientists

"Water ice on the moon has been something of a holy grail for lunar scientists for a very long time," said Jim Green, director of the planetary science division at NASA headquarters in Washington. "This surprising finding has come about through the ingenuity, perseverance and international cooperation between NASA and the India Space Research Organization."

"When we say 'water on the moon', we are not talking about lakes, oceans or even puddles," said Carle Pieters, M3's principal investigator from Brown University. "Water on the moon means molecules of water and hydroxyl that interact with molecules of rock and dust specifically in the top millimeters of the moon's surface."

The M3 team found water molecules and hydroxyl at diverse areas of the sunlit region of the moon's surface, but the water signature appeared stronger at the moon's higher latitudes. Water molecules and hydroxyl previously were suspected in data from a Cassini flyby of the moon in 1999, but the findings were not published until now.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags NASAMoon

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zafar Anjum

Unknown Publication
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?