After the Apollo missions, for severall decades, it was believed that there is no water on the Moon. But the researchers never stopped looking for it in the Moon.
Previously, water was detected in the moon by three different spacecrafts, but there was no surity; scientists thought it could be other hydroxyl compounds trapped in minerals.
Researcher Casey Honniball and colleagues from the University of Hawai’i have connfirmed that moon has water on its sunlit surface. Aeroplane 747 boarded an infrared telescope – it makes observations from Earth’s high atmosphere. It detected the unique spectral signature of water at six micro meters wavelength.
An astrophysicst from Australia’s Macquerie Universtiy said, “owever, don’t expect to find hidden glaciers or ice caps. We’re talking about minuscule water ice grains contained in glassy beads which were most likely formed through the continuous bombardment of the Moon’s surface by micro-meteorites.”
On the Southern latitudes of the Moon, the size of individual water molecule is found to be 100 to 400 parts per million.
Another research led by the University of Colorado Boulder investigated cold traps. These are the permanently shadowed holes at the poles which havent faced the Sun for billions of years.
According to the co-author, Paul Hayne, “The temperatures are so low in cold traps that ice would behave like a rock. If water gets in there, it’s not going anywhere for a billion years.”
Researchers are expecting these cold traps to be found across forty thousand square kilometres.
An astronomer from Macquarie University, Craig O’Neil says, “The Moon is our stepping stone to the Solar System, but the challenge is that it’s pretty resource-poor for human habitation.”
We are still clueless about the quatity of water residing in Moon. With different nations heading to the Moon, Craig points out – “The geopolitics of the resorce are going to be complicated.”