NASA on Monday revealed an important discovery on the Moon: there is water on its surface, exposed to daylight. This information could facilitate a sustainable establishment on Earth’s natural satellite.
There is water on the Moon, it’s no surprise. We have even known this since the 1960s. But exactly what volume of water do we find on the Moon? The answer to this question has so far been much more nebulous, but thanks to two new studies made public this Monday, October 26 by NASA, scientists have the beginning of an answer. They now estimate that 600 million tonnes of water in the form of ice are present on the Moon, reports Sciences & Avenir.
Water molecules on the moon’s luminous surface
In detail, the first study confirms the detection of water molecules under the lunar surface exposed to sunlight. A first made possible by the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), an infrared telescope developed by NASA and the German space agency. Scientists previously thought that the water was more stable in the craters and dark regions of the night star, recall Sciences & Avenir.
This ice is trapped in “traps”
The second study makes it possible to specify where these reserves of ice are located, called “cold micro-traps” and which measure a centimeter in diameter, or even less. These kinds of “pockets” could house 10 to 20% of the water stored in the permanent shadow areas of the Moon, the famous “Dark side of the moon”, in the regions close to the moon. poles. This notion of “micro-traps” of ice was already known to scientists.
Water reserves more accessible than expected
Until now, they believed that these sites were mostly found in large lunar craters, when in fact, they are distributed in a multitude of “micro-traps” much more accessible in the polar regions of the Moon. The study mentions hundreds of millions, if not billions, of these “water reserves” scattered over the entire lunar surface.
Hope to produce lunar fuel revived
Why are these findings so important? On the one hand, space specialists have long considered that humans can survive on the Moon for a long time thanks to “local” water. On the other hand, they also intend to use the Moon as a kind of “space service station”, in which the vessels could be supplied with fuel, carried out by electrolysis of water, a method simple to carry out and inexpensive.
With the dispatch