Iced Water Found on Moon’s Surface, US Study Confirms

Iced Water Found on Moon’s Surface, US Study Confirms

Thursday, 23 August, 2018 - 05:30
The moon is shown during the total lunar eclipse, above the Lebanese town of Tannourine in the mountains north of Beirut. JOSEPH EID / AFP
Washington - London - Asharq Al-Awsat
For the first time ever, US researchers have found a definitive evidence on the existence of iced water on the moon's surface, noting that the ice is concentrated away from sunlight in dark craters.

In their study, published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, the researchers said that previous studies had already reached this fact, but they managed for the first time to measure the footprint of water molecules (H2O), reported the German News Agency.

According to the findings, the iced water on the moon’s surface strongly blends with the rocks.

During the study, the researchers analyzed results of data detected by a portable metal detector on the Indian Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. This device measures radiation in the infrared light.

Water molecules swallow these rays in the presence of special radiation waves, which forms a kind of fingerprint in the spectrum of radiation. This distinctive fingerprint is precisely what the researchers observed.

Previous studies have not been able to distinguish hydrogen (H), hydroxyl (OH) and water (H2O), the researchers said.

According to the new study, the iced water is found in only about 3.5 percent of the dark craters. The researchers noted that this ice is mixed with the so-called rocky lining of the moon and represent merely 30 percent of the mix’s mass.

These modest and probably very old amounts of water found on the moon differ from those found on Mercury or the Ceres dwarf planet, the two constellations that have more pure water on their surfaces, according to former studies.

According to researchers, these findings show that the moon's ice had accumulated differently from the ice gathered in cold water pools on the surface of the two other planets.

Understanding the behavior of volatile substances such as water on the surface of the solar system’s celestial bodies requires more detailed studies, concluded the researchers.

Editor Picks

Multimedia