hypertext – A team of researchers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASAhas just confirmed with sufficient scientific evidence that presence of ice on the surface of the moon.
The team, led by Shuai Li, from the universities of Hawaii and Brown, the find has reached thanks to the data collected by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), an instrument designed by NASA that in 2008 traveled to the satellite aboard the Hindu spacecraft Chandrayaan-1.
Ice hidden in the shade of craters
the M3 spectrograph was one of the two instruments with which NASA contributed to the development of the First Hindu space mission to the moon.
The mission, which began with the launch of the ship October 22, 2008, took a total of 312 days, after which the M3 succeeded in mapping more than 95% of the lunar surface. Thanks to the collected data, it was now possible to confirm the presence of ice, both in the northern hemisphere and in the south.
As described by the researchers responsible for the finding, which was published on August 20 in PNAS, most of the ice is in the shadows of the craters, near the poles, where temperatures are never exceed -156ºC, unlike other moon areas, where it happens from 107 degrees during the day to -153 at night. This was one of the reasons why until now it did not seem possible to find such superficial water, besides the fact that the Moon has no atmosphere that protects the water from the Sun, so that it does not evaporate.
On the other hand, they also noted that the ice from the northern hemisphere occupied a larger area than in the south, but also more scattered.
It was possible to record that the ice was by detecting it reflective properties that are characteristic of this substancebut also thanks to the way its molecules they absorb radiation in the near infrared. With this last data you can make a distinction between the water and the hydroxyl group, two series of atoms that, with the previously used techniques, were confused with each other. Moreover, it makes it possible to distinguish in what aggregation state found it
Thanks to this superficial ice reservoir we were able to investigate the possibility use water directly as a resource for future expeditions to the moon, to stay in longer. However, there is still a lot of data to know, such as how the satellite came into being and how it interacts with it.