NASA has been able to confirm there is water present on the sunlit surface of the moon.
NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) detected water in the Clavius Crater, according to a media release from NASA. The Clavius Crater is the largest crater visible from Earth, NASA reported.
NEWS: We confirmed water on the sunlit surface of the Moon for the 1st time using @SOFIAtelescope. We don’t know yet if we can use it as a resource, but learning about water on the Moon is key for our #Artemis exploration plans. Join the media telecon at https://t.co/vOGoSHt74c pic.twitter.com/7p2QopMhod
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) October 26, 2020
“We had indications that H2O – the familiar water we know – might be present on the sunlit side of the Moon,” Director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters Paul Hertz said in a press release. “Now we know it is there. This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface and raises intriguing questions about resources relevant for deep space exploration.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: ‘A New Era Of Human Exploration’ Begins As NASA, SpaceX Prepare For Historic Launch)
The information gathered by SOFIA adds to years of previous research regarding the presence of water on the moon.
“Prior to the SOFIA observations, we knew there was some kind of hydration,” lead author of the study Casey Honniball said. “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 will continue to look for water on other areas of the sunlit side of the moon. Water will be searched for during different lunar phases as well to try to better understand how it is produced and stored on the moon, NASA reported.