WASHINGTON, D.C. – NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has confirmed the presence of water on the sunlit surface of the moon for the first time, the agency announced Monday.
What You Need To Know
- Molecules were found in the Clavius Crater
- The discovery means water may be distributed across the moon’s surface, NASA said.
- An expert says the finding challenges our knowledge of the lunar suface.
SOFIA has detected water molecules (H2O) in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the moon’s southern hemisphere, NASA said.
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
The finding indicates that water may distributed across the surface of the moon, not just on the shadowy side, NASA said.
“We had indications that H2O – the familiar water we know – might be present on the sunlit side of the Moon,” said Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “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.”