NASA discovers moving water on surface of the moon for first time
- Mirror 12th Mar 2019 09:03:24 GMT +0300
It’s just 384,400km from Earth, yet scientists are still making new discoveries about the moon.
Most recently, NASA scientists have discovered evidence of moving water on the lunar surface, as part of the Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP).
Dr Kurt Retherford, who worked on the study, said: “This is an important new result about lunar water, a hot topic as our nation’s space program returns to a focus on lunar exploration.
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“We recently converted the LAMP’s light collection mode to measure reflected signals on the lunar dayside with more precision, allowing us to track more accurately where the water is and how much is present.”
Using an instrument on board NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), scientists discovered water molecules bound to the lunar soil, or regolith.
These molecules remain tightly bound to the soil until surface temperatures peak, at around the moon’s noon.
At that point, the molecules desorb and bounce to a nearby location that’s cold enough for them to stick.
Dr Michael Poston, who also worked on the study, said: “Lunar hydration is tricky to measure from orbit, due to the complex way that light reflects off of the lunar surface.
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“Previous research reported quantities of hopping water molecules that were too large to explain with known physical processes.
“I’m excited about these latest results because the amount of water interpreted here is consistent with what lab measurements indicate is possible.”
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