Water present all over the moon, not just in polar latitudes as initially known
While general theory tells us that water is concentrated only in the poles of the moon, a new study published on Nature Geoscience in Feb. 12 tells us otherwise: that water exists all over the moon.
“We find that it doesn’t matter what time of day or which latitude we look at, the signs indicating water always seems to be present,” Joshua Bandfield, senior research scientist at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado and lead author of the study told the National Aeronautics and Space Association (NASA) last Saturday, Feb. 24. “The presence of water doesn’t appear to depend on the composition of the surface, and the water sticks around.”
The results of Bandfield’s study contradict earlier studies that suggested water was only detected at the Moon’s polar latitudes. It was also initially made known that the strength of the water signal waxes and wanes depending on the lunar day.
In Bandfield’s test study, however, prominent absorption features consistent with H2O were shown to be present at all latitudes, with local times and surface types examined. Thus, water can be present on the moon more wide-ranging than previously recognized.
This recent discovery comes as an important milestone for researchers and scientists in the field of aeronautics and space research; it will help them understand the sources of water and its long-term storage not just in the moon but throughout the solar system.
Unfortunately, the presence of water all over the moon doesn’t mean life can be sustained there any time soon. While the idea of humans migrating from earth to live in space sounds grand, its possibility is still a long time coming — if it will ever come at all. JB
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