Water Discovered on Sunlit Part of the Moon for the First Time

Water has been discovered on the sunlit surface of the moon, NASA announced Monday, an important revelation that indicates water may be distributed across the lunar surface – and not just limited to its cold, shadowed places such as the poles.

This is good news for astronauts at future lunar bases who could tap into these resources for drinking and rocket fuel production.

“We had indications that H2O – the familiar water we know – might be present on the sunlit side of the moon,” Paul Hertz, director of the astrophysics division in the science mission directorate at NASA headquarters in Washington, said in a statement. “Now we know it is there. This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface and raises intriguing questions about resources relevant for deep space exploration.”

The lead researcher, Casey Honniball, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said at a news conference that she wanted to make it clear the SOFIA study had not found puddles on the moon. Rather, the identified hydrogen and oxygen molecules are so far apart they are neither in liquid or solid form, she said.

The findings were published Monday in a pair of studies in the journal Nature Astronomy.

SOURCE: USA Today, Doyle Rice