NASA Thinks There’s More Water On The Moon Than We Thought
According to CNN, NASA has announced that there may be a lot more water on the Moon than we originally thought.
The research and announcement were based on data gathered by NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy airborne telescope, commonly reffered to as SOFIA, and by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
In a press conference on Monday (October 26th), NASA researchers announced that SOFIA had spotted water molecules all over the Moon's surface, not just at the south pole, as had been previously believed.
Additionally, data from the LRO seems to indicate that there may be larger (penny sized) pockets of water in parts of the surface that are permanently in the shadows. Because they are in the shadows, they were never irradiated or evaporated by the sun's rays.
SOFIA is a 2.7 meter telescope mounted inside a modified 747 jumbo jet, while the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is a satellite that went into lunar orbit in 2009.
Paul Hertz, from NASA'a astrophysics division said:
"For the first time, water has been confirmed to be present on the sunlit surface of the moon"
These discoveries are great news for those involved in NASA's plan to return to the Moon. Water is a mission critical resource for the next round of manned missions. Not just for drinking and bathing, but also because it can be broken down into breathable oxygen and hydrogen for certain types of rocket fuel.
However, the real question remains, how long will it take to fill up our lunar swimming pool? And, can we bring an Olympic-sized pool or are we going to be limited to a "kiddie pool"?