Data from NASA’s decommissioned SOFIA telescope helped create the first detailed map of water distribution on the Moon.
The map reveals the distribution of water near the Moon’s south pole. (Video: NASA)
The map is published above Journal of Planetary Sciences on March 15 provides insight into the movement of water on the Moon’s surface and provides important data for NASA’s upcoming Artemis missions.
The new map covers about a quarter of the Moon’s Earth-facing surface below latitude 60, including the celestial body’s south pole. With this data, scientists can easily determine the connection between water and the features of the Moon’s surface, avoiding sunlight and favoring cold areas.
“When we look at the water data, we can actually see the edges of impact craters, individual mountains, and even the day-night difference between mountains, thanks to the higher concentration of water in those locations. “said study lead author Bill Reach, director of the SOFIA Science Center at NASA Ames Research Center, at the 2023 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.
The new map covers about a quarter of the Moon’s Earth-facing surface below 60 degrees latitude.
The new map covers about a quarter of the Moon’s Earth-facing surface below latitude 60.
NASA’s SOFIA telescopealso called Stratospheric Infrared Astronomical Observatory, ceased operations at the end of 2022, mainly due to budgetary problems. The device was mounted on a Boeing 747 to fly at an altitude of 12,800 m. This allows it to avoid 99.9% of Earth’s water vapor, which blocks most of the infrared light received by the observatory.
At the end of 2024, NASA plans to land an exploratory rover Polar region VIPER to an area above Mons Mouton Summit studied by SOFIA to carry out the first resource mapping mission outside of Earth. The results will pave the way for Artemis III and subsequent crewed missions to the lunar surface.
Finally, NASA aims to establish a permanent colony on the Moon to create a springboard for human ambitions to conquer Mars. The new SOFIA map will help scientists identify suitable areas for building bases, where water can be converted into oxygen for breathing and running rocket propulsion engines.
Article source: VnExpress
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Data from NASA’s decommissioned SOFIA telescope helps create the first detailed map of water distribution on the Moon…