“NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy [SOFIA] has confirmed, for the first time, water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. This discovery indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places,” NASA said.
The US space agency National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) has discovered water on the lunar surface. The special thing is that water is found on the surface of the moon in an area where the sun’s rays fall. NASA’s discovery will give great strength to future manned missions to the Moon. SOFIA, short for Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, is a joint project of Nasa and the German Aerospace Center to maintain and construct an airborne observatory.
As per the reports of NASA, SOFIA is a Being 747SP aircraft modified to carry a 2.7 meter(106-inch) reflecting telescope with an effective diameter of 2.5 meters or 100 inches.
Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division at the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, said that we already had indications that H2O, which we know as water, may be present on the surface of the Moon towards the Sun. This gives us inspiration for more intensive space exploration.
NASA has plans to establish human settlements on the moon. NASA is already preparing to send manned missions to the lunar surface by 2024. NASA wants to deliver humans to the moon’s surface by 2024 through its Artemis program.
According to the report of the study published in the latest issue of Nature Astronomy, data from this location has revealed water at concentrations of 100 to 412 parts per million. In comparison, the amount of water that Sophia has discovered on the lunar surface is 100 times less than the amount of water in the Sahara Desert of Africa.
Prior to the SOFIA observations, we knew there was some kind of hydration,” said Casey Honniball, the lead author who published the results from her graduate thesis work at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa in Honolulu. “But we didn’t know how much, if any, was actually water molecules – like we drink every day – or something more like drain cleaner.”
SOFIA’s follow-up flights will look for water in additional sunlit locations and during different lunar phases to learn more about how the water is produced, stored, and moved across the Moon. The data will add to the work of future Moon missions, such as NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER), to create the first water resource maps of the Moon for future human space exploration.
In the same issue of Nature Astronomy, scientists have published a paper using theoretical models and NASA’s Lunar reconnaissance Orbiter data, pointing out that water could be trapped in small shadows, where temperatures stay below freezing, across more of the Moon than currently expected.
“Water is a valuable resource, for both scientific purposes and for use by our explorers,” said Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. “If we can use the resources at the Moon, then we can carry less water and more equipment to help enable new scientific discoveries.”