Surface Water on Moon:

paddoboy

Valued Senior Member
https://phys.org/news/2020-10-sofia-sunlit-surface-moon.html

SOFIA discovers water on sunlit surface of moon:
NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has confirmed, for the first time, water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. This discovery indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places.

SOFIA has detected water molecules (H2O) in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon's southern hemisphere. Previous observations of the Moon's surface detected some form of hydrogen, but were unable to distinguish between water and its close chemical relative, hydroxyl (OH). Data from this location reveal water in concentrations of 100 to 412 parts per million—roughly equivalent to a 12-ounce bottle of water—trapped in a cubic meter of soil spread across the lunar surface. The results are published in the latest issue of Nature Astronomy.

"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."

As a comparison, the Sahara desert has 100 times the amount of water than what SOFIA detected in the lunar soil. Despite the small amounts, the discovery raises new questions about how water is created and how it persists on the harsh, airless lunar surface.


Water is a precious resource in deep space and a key ingredient of life as we know it. Whether the water SOFIA found is easily accessible for use as a resource remains to be determined. Under NASA's Artemis program, the agency is eager to learn all it can about the presence of water on the Moon in advance of sending the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024 and establishing a sustainable human presence there by the end of the decade.
more at link.....


the paper:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-020-01222-x

Molecular water detected on the sunlit Moon by SOFIA:

Abstract:

Widespread hydration was detected on the lunar surface through observations of a characteristic absorption feature at 3 µm by three independent spacecraft1,2,3. Whether the hydration is molecular water (H2O) or other hydroxyl (OH) compounds is unknown and there are no established methods to distinguish the two using the 3 µm band4. However, a fundamental vibration of molecular water produces a spectral signature at 6 µm that is not shared by other hydroxyl compounds5. Here, we present observations of the Moon at 6 µm using the NASA/DLR Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). Observations reveal a 6 µm emission feature at high lunar latitudes due to the presence of molecular water on the lunar surface. On the basis of the strength of the 6 µm band, we estimate abundances of about 100 to 400 µg g−1 H2O. We find that the distribution of water over the small latitude range is a result of local geology and is probably not a global phenomenon. Lastly, we suggest that a majority of the water we detect must be stored within glasses or in voids between grains sheltered from the harsh lunar environment, allowing the water to remain on the lunar surface.

 
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Note:
Not diminishing the importance of this discovery, it should be noted as I have highlighted in red, that this isn't a discovery of the likes of the Pacific Ocean. Still important though in relation to Man's eventual return and establishing a base.

The other aspect worth noting, again though not detracting from the importance of the article, is the rather poor journalism particularly that highlighted in blue: This imo, seems to align with the sometimes mythical belief that only one side of the Moon receives any Sun. As recently claimed in the fringes, this is absolutely wrong. The discovery was highlighted in Sunlight, which could be anywhere. Of course we can only see just slightly more then one side of the Moon, due to gravitationally captured synchronous orbit around Earth, along with its rotation about its axis.
 
Supplementary:
https://phys.org/news/2020-10-tiny-moon-shadows-harbor-hidden.html

Tiny moon shadows may harbor hidden stores of ice:

Hidden pockets of water could be much more common on the surface of the moon than scientists once suspected, according to new research led by the University of Colorado Boulder. In some cases, these tiny patches of ice might exist in permanent shadows no bigger than a penny.

"If you can imagine standing on the surface of the moon near one of its poles, you would see shadows all over the place," said Paul Hayne, assistant professor in the Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics at CU Boulder. "Many of those tiny shadows could be full of ice."

In a study published today in the journal Nature Astronomy, Hayne and his colleagues explored phenomena on the moon called "cold traps"—shadowy regions of the surface that exist in a state of eternal darkness.

Many have gone without a single ray of sunlight for potentially billions of years. And these nooks and crannies may be a lot more numerous than previous data suggest. Drawing on detailed data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the researchers estimate that the moon could harbor roughly 15,000 square miles of permanent shadows in various shapes and sizes—reservoirs that, according to theory, might also be capable of preserving water via ice.

Future lunar residents, in other words, may be in luck.
more at link.................

the paper:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41550-020-1198-9

Micro cold traps on the Moon:

Abstract

Water ice is thought to be trapped in large permanently shadowed regions in the Moon’s polar regions, due to their extremely low temperatures. Here, we show that many unmapped cold traps exist on small spatial scales, substantially augmenting the areas where ice may accumulate. Using theoretical models and data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, we estimate the contribution of shadows on scales from 1 km to 1 cm, the smallest distance over which we find cold-trapping to be effective for water ice. Approximately 10–20% of the permanent cold-trap area for water is found to be contained in these micro cold traps, which are the most numerous cold traps on the Moon. Consideration of all spatial scales therefore substantially increases the number of cold traps over previous estimates, for a total area of ~40,000 km2, about 60% of which is in the south. A majority of cold traps for water ice is found at latitudes > 80° because permanent shadows equatorward of 80° are typically too warm to support ice accumulation. Our results suggest that water trapped at the lunar poles may be more widely distributed and accessible as a resource for future missions than previously thought.

 
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