SEE – August 28th : The search for water in the outer space has always been an obsession for scientists working in this field.
Researches never stopped since the sole human visit to the moon almost 5 decades ago.
Now, the moon research community is excited about the good news which revealed new evidence of exposed water ice in the lunar polar regions.
NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper, or M3, instrument flew aboard Chandrayaan-1, India’s first mission to the moon, and provided the first mineralogical map of the lunar surface.
Using data from the NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) spectrometer experiment, a team of researchers investigated and found direct evidence for the presence of water in in polar craters on the Moon.
Previous data could not specifically verify the existence of water ice.
“This is a critical paper as it demonstrates that we have four independent lines of evidence that there are surface ice exposures at the lunar poles,” explains Clive Neal, a leading lunar expert at the University of Notre Dame.
“With the neutron data, we also know that these deposits extend into the subsurface. Therefore, we now have great maps that we can use to target prospecting surface rovers,” Neal told Inside Outer Space.
Neal said as far as on-the-spot use of the water ice reserves, what still needs to be known is the size of the deposits, the geomechanical properties of the regolith it is in, ease of extraction, bulk composition (impurities and the refining process necessary to produce clean water of life support and rocket fuel, etc.).
“If ice is at the surface, this means that much more could be buried at depth and covered and preserved below insulating soil, or diffused into and frozen in the soil layers,” notes James Head at the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
“This is very exciting news, and provides significant impetus for future international landings in the polar regions to drill and return samples of this ice. Ice deposits in significant quantities on the Moon could provide resources for future lunar bases and for fuel for future human exploration of deep space,” Head states.