Researchers say the small glass beads scattered across the Moon’s surface are capable of holding billions of tons of water, which can be harnessed and used in future missions.
According to The Guardian (UK), this new discovery is considered one of the the most significant breakthrough yet for space agencies aiming to build a base on the Moon. This means that the surface of the Moon contains not only water but also hydrogen and oxygen.
The spacecraft of the Chang’e-5 mission
The spacecraft of the Chang’e-5 mission, broadcast during an event of China’s lunar exploration program, at the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), in North Kinh, China. (Photo: Reuters).
Mr Mahesh Anand, Professor of Planetary Science and Exploration at the Open University, said: “This is one of the most exciting discoveries we have made. With this discovery, the potential for sustainable lunar exploration is higher than ever. »
More than half a century after humans last set foot on the Moon, the United States Space Agency (NASA) and other space agencies are preparing for the mission to return humans to this place. Mission Artemis NASA’s goal is to send the first woman and first person of color to the Moon. Meanwhile, the European Space Agency is considering building a village on the Moon. Both hope to use materials on the Moon to maintain bases outside Earth.
Mr. Anand and a group of Chinese scientists analyzed fine glass particles from soil samples taken from the Moon by Chang’e-5 mission from China brought to Earth in December 2020. These particles, less than a millimeter in diameter, were formed when meteorites crashed into the Moon and created a shower of molten drops. Then, these drops solidified and mixed with Moon dust.
Tests on glass beads show that they contain a significant amount of water, ranging from 300 million tons to 270 billion tons across the entire surface of the Moon.
“This discovery opens up new directions that many of us are thinking about. If we can extract water and concentrate it in meaningful quantities, then how we use it is up to us.Mr. Anand said.
The theory that the Moon may not be a completely dry desert emerged from previous missions. In the 1990s, NASA’s Clementine probe discovered evidence of frozen water in deep, steep craters near the Moon’s poles. In 2009, India’s Chandrayaan-1 space probe discovered what appeared to be a thin layer of water in lunar dust on the surface.
The latest research, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, highlights Fine glass particles are the cause of this surface water. Unlike frozen water in craters, it may be much easier for humans or robots working on the Moon to exploit.
“There is evidence that when the temperature of this material exceeds 100 degrees Celsius, it begins to melt and can be extracted” » said Mr. Anand.
Mr Ian Crawford, professor of planetary science and astrobiology at Birkbeck, University of London, said the new discovery strengthens the hypothesis that the Moon is richer in water than previously thought.
“Lunar reservoirs could prove a useful resource in areas far from polar ice deposits. However, the quantity of water present should not be overestimated, which is a maximum of 130 ml/m3 of lunar soil.he said.
Source of the article: Journal of information
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Researchers recently said that small glass beads on the surface of the Moon can hold billions of tons of water, which can be harnessed and used in missions…