A team of scientists observed "definitive evidence" of the existence of ice water on the surface of the moon. They are found in the darkest and coldest regions of their polar regions.
The illustration shows the distribution of ice on the surface at the south pole of the moon (left) and that of the north pole (right).
The doubt about whether there is water on the moon or not has just been resolved. NASA has announced on its website that it already has "final proof" that confirms the existence of liquid on the surface of the satellite. These are ice deposits that are found in the coldest and darkest regions of the polar regions. (Read Eight Years Behind Humboldt)
The team of scientists that did the finding was led by Shuau Li from the University of Hawaii and Brown University (United States). Richard Elphic also took part, from the Ames Research Center of NASA. (Read the standards that the pharmaceutical industry wants the new Minister of Health to stop)
To achieve this, the researchers used the data collected by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (mineral cartographer of the moon). This instrument, better known as M3, was launched in 2008 by the Space Research Organization of India and was intended to confirm the presence of water in the satellite.
As you can read in the NASA statement, most of the ice found is concentrated in moon craters, where the highest temperatures never exceed -250 degrees Fahrenheit (about -156.6 degrees Celsius). Because of the small tilt of the moon's axis, sunlight never reaches those areas.
The research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, warns that this time is not just collected data that showed the reflective properties that are often expected of ice. They also measured the molecules that absorb infrared light, making it possible to differentiate whether it was water, ice or steam.
Earlier observations had been made that indicated the existence of water on the surface of the South Pole, but they were data that could be explained by other phenomena. For example, that the lunar floor was "unusually reflective".
The deposits are irregularly distributed and "may possibly be old". 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.
Although it is difficult to confirm at the moment, Nasa ensures that ice can be used as a resource for future expeditions. Learning how the fluid arrived and how it interacts with the rest of the surface will be one of the questions that the space agency will have to solve. "It will be a main goal," they said in the statement.