Most of the newly discovered ice lies in the shadow of craters, where the highest temperatures never exceed -156 degrees Celsius, because the small tilt of the moon's axis ensures that sunlight never reaches these areas.
These deposits are irregularly distributed and "could potentially be old" according to the observations for which data from an instrument of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Moon Mineralogy Mapper (mineral cartographer) have been used. of the moon), M3.
At the south pole most of the ice is concentrated in the craters of the terrestrial satellite, while in the North Pole the presence of ice water is more widespread, but hardly expanded.
The team, led by scientists from the American universities of Hawaii and Brown and the NASA Ames Research Center, identified "three specific markings that absolutely prove that there is ice water on the surface of the moon."
The M3, aboard the Indian moon probe Chandrayaan-1, which was launched in space in 2008, was specially equipped to confirm the presence of ice on the moon. This instrument collected data that not only captured the reflective properties expected of ice, but was also able to immediately measure the unmistakable form in which its molecules absorb infrared light, allowing it to distinguish between water, steam or ice.
NASA recalls that previous indirect observations have observed possible signs of water on the surface of the Moon's south pole, but these data can also be explained by other phenomena, such as a moon-ground that was "unusually reflective".
Experts believe that the water with sufficient ice in its most superficial layer can be a source for future exploration expeditions or even stay on the moon and even be more accessible than the water detected under the satellite floor.
Knowing more about this ice cream, how it got there and how it interacts with other larger lunar environments, will be "an important focus of attention for NASA and its business partners" because it aims "to return and explore our closest neighbor" , the Moon ", says the American agency on his website.
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