Scientists have suspected since the 1960s that there may be water on the moon.
Scientists analyzed lunar rock samples that contain tiny, water-trapping beads of glass; these beads formed when magma erupted from the Moon's interior billions of years ago, trapping water inside them.
While the volcanic beads brought back to Earth only contain about.05 percent water by weight, the researchers say the deposits they came from on the moon are large and it could be possible to extract those precious molecules.
Scientists were able to discern the molecular makeup of the moon's rocky surface, identifying minerals and compounds, by measuring which wavelengths are absorbed and reflected as the moon orbits. This was made trickier on the Moon, because its surface is warmed during each day. Scientists use orbital spectrometers to measure the light that bounces off a planetary surface. "Water - and it either be as H2O, or we often use water to refer to hydroxyl (OH), either of which could be extracted to produce water to drink in theory - has characteristic absorptions". The re-examination of volcanic glass beads, which was brought back by the crews of Apollo 15 and 17 missions in the 1970s, has raised the possibility of Moon to be wetter than previous thought, a discovery which may pave paths for turning the age-old dream of colonizing the Moon into an authentic opportunity. Using the new thermal correction, the researchers looked at data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper, an imaging spectrometer that flew aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter.
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The team found evidence of water in nearly all of the large pyroclastic deposits that had been previously mapped, including near the Apollo 15 and 17 landing sites, where the water-bearing glass bead samples were found.
"The amount of water in a given glass bead is not very much, but the size of some of the pyroclastic deposits is huge, so you have a lot of material to work with and process", Milliken said. Because these regions were distributed across the lunar surface, it means that the detection of water in the Apollo samples was no anomaly.
The study "bolsters the idea that the lunar mantle is surprisingly water-rich", scientists from Brown University say in a press release. However, multiple lines of evidence, including measurements of the returned Apollo samples as well as remote sensing studies like ours, indicate water is in fact present in the deep lunar interior.
They had assumed it was unlikely that any of the hydrogen needed to form water could have survived the heat of that impact. Either the water weathered the impact somehow, or water-rich asteroids and comets brought it to the Moon. "Besides Moon Express, Japan, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and even (Elon) Musk are among the other big names tossing out new lunar visions".
The new findings could aid missions from Earth.
Scientists have speculated that there could also be water ice in the shadowy regions of the lunar poles, but it's much more hard to access those regions.