Surface ice at Moon’s poles

Water is the preliminary and fundamental requirement needed for everyday life. It is very unique molecule due to some important chemical properties, it has high surface tension and high value of specific heat capacity and more importantly, it is the only substance found on earth in its all three states, gas, liquid and solid.  Our planet Earth is blue planet and hence its greenery only because of presence of water in it. Earth is estimated to have approximately 1.4 x kg water in the oceans.  It is supposed that water is present over the entire universe since study reveals its presence in the interstellar medium (ISM) as well as in the spectra of stars.

 

Achieving the milestone of one of the great mission, a team of space scientists, led by Shuai Li of the University of Hawaii and Brown University & Richard Elphic from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Vally, directly observed evidence of water in the form of ice on the moon’s surface which was found in the darkest and coldest parts of its polar regions. This is the very first evidence directly observed by the scientist supporting water on moon’s surface.

Image above clearly indicates the distribution of ice (blue colored locations) at the surface of moon, South Pole (left) and north pole (right). Observation has been detected by analyzing data from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument called M3. M3, the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, launched by ISRO in 2008 significantly equipped to the confirmation of the solid ice presence on the moon. Data and direct observations have shown that the most of the ice is concentrated at lunar craters (Temperature < -250 F) at southern pole while the northern pole’s ice is more widely distributed.

Currently, a team of scientist is learning more about this ice, possible interaction with lunar environment as a key mission for NASA and commercial partners to learn our closest neighbor, Moon.

 

If you want to see the full paper published, follow the link-  Water on the surface of the Moon as seen by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper: Distribution, abundance, and origins

News source: NASA

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