View of the Moon. Until now, experts have believed that water molecules could be found only in the isolated packs of ice in the moon's poles. Scientists have already discovered evidence of water in the Moon's rocks, which has likely been there since the Moon formed, as well as on its surface, probably deposited by meteors, according to the paper. During the last decade, scientists have identified surface water in scattered molecule populations bound to regolith, also known as the lunar soil. Water on the moon, which varies by location and time of day, is more common at higher altitudes and "bounces" around as the moon's surface increases in temperature.
The moon, which was previously thought to be very dry, actually has some wet areas: With the help of NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), scientists recently observed "hopping" liquid water on the moon's surface and their discovery could lead to more lunar explorations. As the neighborhood warms up around lunar noon, some of the molecules lift off into the moon's puny atmosphere and migrate around the moon's surface until they stumble upon someplace cold enough that they can settle back down to the surface.
"Lunar hydration is tricky to measure from orbit, due to the complex way that light reflects off of the lunar surface", Poston said.
"These results aid in understanding the lunar water cycle and will ultimately help us learn about accessibility of water that can be used by humans in future missions to the Moon", said lead author Amanda Hendrix, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute. I'm excited about these latest results because the amount of water interpreted here is consistent with what lab measurements indicate is possible. Studies like this could point future scientists toward the places and times to best look for water on the lunar surface.
"This result is an important step in advancing the water story on the Moon and is a result of years of accumulated data from the LRO mission", said John Keller, LRO deputy project scientist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. However, if that was true when the moon is behind the Earth and shielded from the solar wind, NASA says the "water spigot" should turn off, but it doesn't.
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