NASA operator Jim Bridenstine (L) makes comments such as US Strategic Command Commander Gen. John Hyten listens during the joint hearing of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee with the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, in Washington, USA, June 22, 2018.
The M3 mapper, aboard the spaceship Chandrayaan-1, launched in 2008 by the Indian Space Research Organization, was uniquely equipped to confirm the presence of solid ice on the moon.
Why it matters: With the final proof of water ice on the surface of the moon, the next logical step would be to send a rover to the region for further exploration.
The American space agency aims to bring people back to the moon for the first time since the legendary Apollo missions in the 1960s and 1970s. However, this does not seem to be the only requirement, since only 3.5% of the surface of the moon where this condition is met actually had ice.
But there is still a lot to learn. The distribution and abundance of the moon ice are different from those on other airless bodies in the inner solar system such as Mercury and Ceres, which can be associated with the unique formation and evolution process of the moon.
"Most of the rediscovered water ice lies in the shadow of craters at the poles, where the warmest temperatures never exceed the minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit", NASA said in a press release.
If the moon has sufficient water and is reasonably accessible, future explorers may use it as drinking water or convert it into hydrogen and oxygen for rocket fuel or oxygen for breathing.
There is not a lot of moon ice – it is found in only about 3.5 percent of the area of those "cold traps", where the temperature never exceeds -163C.
An advantage of near-infrared (NIR) reflection spectroscopy is that it provides a direct measurement of molecular vibrations and thus can be used to distinguish H2O ice from OH and H2O in other forms (eg liquid, adsorbed surface or bound in minerals) , & # 39; they wrote in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
"So we want the tugs to travel from the earth's orbit to the lunar orbit to be reusable".
Artist concept of a future human base on the moon.
Such a colonization plan was announced last year as part of a collaboration between the European Space Agency and the Chinese national space agency to have a maximum of 10 settlers by 2030.